Or, yes, I occasionally channel James Lileks, but the difference is the very real possibility that I will hunt some of these people down and kill them.
• Let's say you happen to be, I dunno, let's call you the Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corporation of Mansfield, MA. And let's speculate further on the odds a rapidly aging but still sexually attractive blogger, in a moment of Yuletide consumerist weakness, picks up some cat water-fountain gizmo you make, or distribute, or something. Let's imagine that his Poor Wife managed to break the cats' water bowl, and that she has demanded it be replaced by something with handles or ears or bowl-circling gargoyles so that she (who never is the one to fill the thing) can pick it up more easily. And let's imagine that this long-suffering dutiful spouse (who's still quite virile) goes in search of one, but in the back of his mind is the nagging realization that leaving the cats without drinking water for a week or two while shopping for Just The Right Bowl is probably unworkable, and, also, that No Corporation or Distributor or Whatever In Its Right Collective Mind would produce such a thing. So he figures on cutting the Gordian Knot with some schlocky gizmo, which you happen to produce a variety of, and here he is holding it, scanning the quatrolingual box for the one bit of information important to him: Does the thing require plugging in? Because the preferred location for it, the one where the cats were, until last evening, accustomed to find potable water, is about fifty feet from any usable outlet. And this gentleman reads the back of the box, in English, Spanish, French, and what he takes to be a sub-dialect of Neo-Phrygian transliterated into Roman characters, and at least three of them appear to say "Detachable AC adapter included".
He is, or perhaps imagines himself to be, justified in two assumptions here, neither of which is supported nor abnegated by any other information he can find on the packaging: one, that the thing is powered by a DC motor, and two, that it will run on either said direct current or, with the detachable adapter in positive attachment mode, by plugging it into a wall socket. He further assumes that this option, which he does not plan to take advantage of, would use standard US plugs and operate on 120V., though this does not enter his conscious mind.
So you might imagine his surprise when, upon unpacking the thing, he finds that the only way the motherfuckin' thing will work is plugged in. In other words, the package did not contain a Detachable Adaptor, but, rather, a Two-Piece Power Cord, without which its merchantability would be, roughly, Zero. And the packaging actually read: "Contains electric appliance and includes the cord you'll need to plug it in," only in a way which made this idiotic statement the subject of a guessing game the consumer doesn't realize he's playing. Supposing he could calm down for a moment--which is not likely since he now must repackage the piece of shit and take it back to the pet store, braving in the interim a surface-roadful of drivers who apparently come out only in December and whose remarkably universal dyslexia causes them to believe the speed limit on every road between here and there is "04", and who through some heretofore unexpected psychic emanation cause their turn signals to behave sympathetically--if he could calm down, I say, it might occur to him to consider some alternative location for the thing, but it's a no-go. So the question for you is, why wouldn't he sneak a mention of it into his blog?
• In my mid-adolescence, during the Pax Nixonia, we used to drive three or four miles one-way just to sneer at a guy who had five or six lighted Xmas monstrosities on his lawn, in his trees, and on his roof. Now, other than my own little suburban castle, I practically have to drive that far to find one that doesn't.
Honest to God, it's like the official symbols of the holy season of White Trash Advent or somethin'. It started, what, half a dozen years ago when those icicle light strings came out, and they looked pretty cool until the second year when they were on every other house. Plus they're uniformly in Glaring Eggshell or Temporary Night Blindness Beige, or something, which really raises the question of how we wound up with so many American homeowners so bereft of drug-induced-trance behavior experience that they choose the brightest possible bulbs for their personal Pink Floyd lawn displays. Then came the wire reindeer and candy canes and shit, also in Flashbulb-in-the-Eyes Frost Tone, and the light blankets, which made it possible to simply hurl the shit in the general direction of where you'd like the display set up, and forget it. Now it's the giant inflatable crap, which collapses like busted styrofoam coolers at a NASCAR short track when the power's turned off, except when it's Santa and he falls just so and looks like the victim of some prison violence. The other day I saw a house with eighteen of the things on a standard suburban lawn. I'm not exaggerating; I nearly caused an accident slowing down to count them, which I felt was the only fitting way to show my appreciation.