Take it easy

By Jack Sparacino
An old friend from work recently wrote to me from New Mexico about a trip he made to Walmart.  He thought I might get a kick out of seeing one of the newer products they had for sale, and he included a picture. The item is called “Batter Blaster.” It’s pancake batter in a pressurized can, made by a company in Austin, Texas. No time to mix up your own batter? Too much work involved?  Well, just heat up a griddle and spray away.  Minutes later you’ve got pancakes or waffles, and in four different flavors no less. Life is good, right?
I was so excited about this invention, I grabbed my buddy “Flip” (he loves pancakes) and we started brainstorming other new product ideas to help people avoid lifting any more fingers than absolutely necessary. Here are some of our initial concepts. We hope you like them, too.
1. “Batter Up.” This one was directly inspired by Batter Blaster.  But instead of using a whipped cream type dispensing system, we think we can save even more time by having the batter come in a pocket inhaler.  It could go right on your keychain and be used anytime, anywhere, something like some people treat asthma symptoms. No fuss, no muss, super low calories, plus we’re designing attractive little containers for it — including one that glows in the dark and therefore doubles as a handy map light!
2. “Mow-bot.” Too busy or tired to mow your lawn? Problem solved with the fabulous “Mow-bot.” This is a fully automated mower that can be programmed to open your garage door, cruise onto your yard and mow away in a precise, customized pattern.  When it’s finished, it propels itself back into the garage, turns itself off and lowers the door. All you do is add gas periodically.  But fear not, we’re thinking about an all electric model that even includes a lawn feeder and grass catcher in the rear.  Take that, R2-D2!
3. “Yacht-o-matic.” Here it is, folks, the inflatable, fully portable yacht we’ve all been waiting for. Pull the cord, and it inflates to full size (80 feet!) in just seconds. Pull a second cord, and the bar inflates as the ice maker is activated.  Pull a third cord and, well you get the idea.  All electronics currently come separately but we’re working on something built in (the “mad dash” kit).
4. “Dip-lo-matic.”  Too much trouble to go to school? Too much studying, too long a drive? Got all the schooling you need but just can’t find some of your old diplomas? This software lets you print your own degrees, complete with fantastic graphics such as photos of your very own self hard at work thinking about studying. Now just to keep everything on the up and up, each diploma automatically appears with the disclaimer “not a real diploma, we made this up” in bold letters in the lower right hand corner. Well, at least it’s good for parties and a few laughs. Invite some “diplomats.”
5. “Cliffhanger Notes.” Lots of us would like to read more, but it just takes so much TIME to really read a book carefully and absorb it. Our notes are really 5-7 simple bullet points on a single page, with all the valuable content and major lessons of any book (including those pesky college textbooks) summarized in 70 words or less.  Imagine “hanging up” an entire library in just a short PowerPoint file on your computer!
6. “Pants-o-Plenty.”  The idea here is so simple we’re absolutely sure it’ll be a big hit: reversible pants for guys who don’t want to do too much laundering.  We’re also considering special shirts with Velcro strips on the front that make it amazingly convenient to stick on a tie (regular or bow)… or even suspenders! (Jackets sold separately.)
7. “Joke in the Box.”  Too tired or laid back to learn jokes or borrow someone else’s stories and anecdotes? Relax, we’ve got you covered with “Joke in the Box.”  This is a potential iPhone app which includes jokes and stories told IN YOUR OWN VOICE, all at the push of a button. Amaze your friends and delight strangers you meet at parties.  (Just move your lips a little in synch with some of the sounds if you’ve got the strength and maybe no one will know the difference.)
8. “Baconinajiff.” Love bacon but hate to deal with cooking your own with all that grease and mess? Don’t even want to cook the kind that goes directly into your microwave because it takes too long and you have to sort of guess at the timing? Well, now you can have great tasting bacon-like goop (we’re trying to think of a more appealing term) in a convenient squeeze tube.
9. “Designated Patient.”  Too busy to see the doctor?  Can’t be hassled with those unpleasant tests and procedures?  Now you can just dial our special 800 number and arrange for someone else who’s roughly your age to undergo all that medical business for you. Sure it may cost an arm and a leg and not always be in your express interest, but we are trying to save you time and hassle, right?
10. “Quantitative Easement.” This one is for those of us who sometimes feel numerically challenged or just want to make sure they get a math problem or other calculation done right.  Call our other special 800 number and pose your question to a genuine mathematician — or at least someone whose “Dip-lo-matic” degree claims they are one — and put your tired mind at rest.  No problem too complex, no algorithm beyond us.  In fact, it’s as easy as one, two, three point six nine nine ninety nine. In fact, that’s about what we’ll charge!
So that’s our preliminary list of fabulous ideas. Here’s the only problem.  We’re excited about these new products but don’t have the time or energy to develop, produce or market any of them right now.  Maybe we need to write some software or find a cool gizmo to expedite the entire process.  You know, it would just “blast” ideas right through to sales and shipping.  As long as we don’t have to work too hard or often, it should be a snap. We’ll get to it, at some point.  Maybe.
But for now, we’ll just take it easy.  Pass the pancakes, please.

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