Stupid inventions

I've run into several stupid inventions lately, the kinds that make you wonder if we normal people will ever understand what lurks in the mind of an engineer. Or if we should even try.

The first one is just about any and every machine that has blinking lights or beeps at me.

Have you ever tried to get every single little light in your house off before going to bed? All the little LEDs in every machine?

It's a challenge. It can take hours. Every machine has them nowadays. And here's my question: why? Why are they needed, do they serve any purpose? Is there some danger I would lose my digiboxi in the dark if it didn't have a red LED?

Even worse are beeping things. I understand if it's a really, really important thing. My car beeps at me until I put my seatbelt on. I cuss at it, but I still put the thing on and I realize that the car is right, without the seatbelt I could die.

My microwave also beeps at me when the time I set it for to cook something is up. It beeps with a very loud, very obnoxious beep for a few seconds. If I don't run in and open the door, it beeps again. Unlike the car, there is no danger if no one opens the door, the thing stops cooking anyway when it starts beeping.

So why does the ( )=/"#%/( thing have to beep at me like that? Don't I have enough people screaming at me without having machines do it too?

Another example of stupid inventions. Last week someone I know tells me he has a 'keyless' car. You use the key to open the door, but once you're inside it, you don't need to put the key in the ignition to start it. Isn't that cool?

He says I can test it so I go out to the car, open the door, jump in, put on the seatbelt, and am about to hit the key when it hits me: where the heck do I put it while I'm driving?

In my backpack? It'll get lost. On the seat next to me? It'll probably fly onto the floor while I'm driving and I'll spend 20 minutes digging it out. I finally stuff it in my pocket, which is not easy since I have the seatbelt on already.

I realize the second purpose of a car ignition. Not only is it good for starting the car, but it's also a damn handy place to keep the key while you're driving.

The funniest dumb invention lately is the thing they call a 'välipalapatukka' or 'myslipatukka'. They take cookies, wrap each one in its own paper, put them in a box, and give them a fancy name.

These are not cookies, you see, they are healthier than cookies. How do you know?

Because they are each wrapped in their own paper, they have a different name, and you pay the same money to get a lot less of them.

There is one invention that I don't think is stupid. In fact, it's pure genius. And like all great inventions, it's extremely simple. The pink plastic razor.

I'm a person who believes firmly that you don't need to share everything in a marriage. There are some things that I'd like to be my very own.

The problem is in getting my husband to remember what is mine and what is his. For example, if I decided I wanted my own towels, I could go out and buy some blue ones. I could explain to him that the blue towels are mine and please don't use them. I can tell him that every day.

But when he comes out of the shower and needs a towel, he'll grab whatever is closest, no matter what color it is.

The last time I bought myself razors, though, I bought pink ones. Not because I think they're any better than the blue ones, just because I thought it would be nice to have a different color.

And I noticed that there is one color on this earth that men won't touch under any circumstances, and that is pink.

Vocabulary: Invention: keksintö, Beep: piippaus, Seatbelt: turvavyö, Cuss: kiroilla, (/%#/!/(: this stands for cussing, Ignition: virtalukko, Razor: partaterä

Kirjoittaja on kotoisin Indianasta Yhdysvalloista. Hän on asunut Suomessa vuodesta 1988 ja työskentelee asiakasratkaisujen suunnittelijana käännös- ja lokalisointialalla.

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