I have seen some things today that I never knew existed. Things I never knew there was a need for. Things that seem on the surface like they are ballsy scams, or God’s gifts, or both. At mall kiosks all across America, where children play, twenty-somethings in fancy clothes are handing out rubber knives to serial killers. Well, they are advertising and selling the latest computer-chipped device, which, according to Serena Chen of the American Lung Association in California, is exactly what an electronic cigarette is analogous to. Analogous, people. Analogous.
I didn’t know we needed computer chips to do our smoking for us, and because I was with Fella and Filly I didn’t stop to linger and check it out, but I found lots of videos on YouTube about it. Turns out the electronic cigarette is a nicotine vapor disperser, and it allows you to get your nicotine fix without all the tar while basically waving your middle finger at the proprietor and customers of whatever no-smoking venue you are inside of. It’s second-hand smoke free, but it still smells like a cigarette. Here is a brief tutorial:
It may look just like a regular cigarette, but it does much more. It allows you to be a prick in public in ways that no one will see coming. I’m not saying that people who smoke or people who have a nicotine addiction are pricks. No. I’m saying that someone who buys this is buying it for the pleasure of getting to argue righteously and indignantly and smugly with every person who tells them to put it out by pointing to a sign. This is high moral ground, useless gadgetry, and Europhile pretentiousness, all in one! It also reminds me of those bubblegum cigarettes we used to puff on, complete with powdered sugar smoke, which makes me just giggle. I am grateful that I do not have to quit a smoking habit, which is what promotional marketing says that the e-cig is good for. What I think will be interesting to watch is if the fans of e-smoking organize themselves into a large enough group and start lobbying for the e-cigarettes to be legal in public places. I think this will reveal a lot of prejudices in the voting public. The no-cigarette laws were ostensibly about health–and in many places, restaurant and bar workers were having breathing problems–but I don’t think most people who voted for the laws really worried about second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke became the smoke screen for people who voted against cigarettes because they don’t like the smell. I don’t like the smell. I don’t like the smoke. I am glad so many places here are smoke-free now. But then you get laws about smoking on the beach, and people hide behind the second-hand smoke argument (although less overtly) when the real problem is litter. Electronic cigarettes are not going to end up broken in pieces in the sand or on the side of the road. Voters are going to have to decide whether to ban a substance because it smells bad. I don’t like the smell of canned sardines, you know, or fruity perfume. Or BO. Who’s next?
But honestly I cannot find any advantage to an electronic cigar. Isn’t the whole point of smoking a cigar the taste of the burning leaves? A nicotine/behavioral fix is one thing, but cigars have a greater social purpose. That’s just going too far.
Now I saw this puppy advertised on the side of a van in a Home Depot parking lot. Not in a chintzy magnetic sign way–in a high-end paintjob way where even the windows are covered with that stuff that allows you to paint on one side and see through the other side. I’ve never been one to have ear problems, but when I used to swim more, I would get that annoying water in the ear thing going on that used to drive me crazy. A class I took in college turned me onto rubbing alcohol in the ear to flush the water out, which worked great, but could be messy if you couldn’t find your eyedropper, and meant that you had to have a bottle of rubbing alcohol handy. It’s not something you’d travel with, and when the liquid level got too low you’d end up pouring it in and out of the cap and wasting some. Plus it was shocking and cold, and no matter what the fetishists may say to the contrary, no one really likes cold wet things jammed in their ear (no matter how good it feels to have warm water gush out after it). The ear dryer solves all those problems!
It’s marketed to swimmers, but also for people with hearing aids, and it is a good concept. I can see life being hard enough if you are older with worsening eyesight and balance and fragiler bones, and the bathroom has sharp corners and slippery surfaces and your hands are shaking and you really do not want to eff around with a tall bottle of rubbing alcohol, a cap, and an eyedropper. Besides, the hearing aid probably needs a perfectly dry ear, and I’m not sure that rubbing alcohol can guarantee that. It just clears out your hearing and then evaporates on its own sweet schedule. This is probably a damn fine product, especially on paper! I don’t really care what the website testimonials say, but the SCUBA diver websites seem to like it. And SCUBA divers don’t joke about water or ears. The entire kit costs less than just the starter kit for the electronic cigarette. Plus, if people see you and your friends fiddling with it in public, they’ll just think you’re playing doctor, which is much more socially acceptable than smoking.
So in this case, if the ear dryer was a rubber knife, I would give it to the serial stabber. Why not? It’s the perfect weapon. I mean tool. I mean, stabbing people is wrong. Don’t do it.