The Amazing Weather Stick!

Let me explain yet again, gentle Craptacular reader, that despite my annoying tendency to complain about every tiny detail of my pathetic existence, in actuality I hail from a fully functional, happy family. I do not mention this very often because, as Tolstoy once said (oooh! Look how smart she is! She's quoting Tolstoy! Gosh, she must be REALLY smart, huh?) happy families are all pretty much alike. In other words (if I may have the temerity to rewrite Tolstoy) if you're not about to commit adultery and throw yourself under a train, you're really not worth writing about.

In case you think this morbid fascination with misery is purely a Tolstoyian contrivance, let me point out that we as human beings are much more fascinated by conflict than happiness. You don't see too many fairy tales starting with "They all lived happily ever after." You don't see soap operas filled with good-looking scantily clad people curled up next to a roaring fire reading a good book. Happiness is fun to experience yourself, but if people are spying on you,, well .... boring. Hence the Craptacular's peculiar focus on all the negative features of the things I encounter. I find the question "What was this person THINKING?" much more interesting than the several, several instances of "Oh, my, that's just lovely, what exquisitely good taste, thank you very much" that also populate my life.

One of the many perks of having a happy family and great friends is that you are besieged with countless, thoughtful little gifts, either for some event or anniversary, or sometimes just because the other person is thinking of you. Awwww. It is a lovely gesture, even if they are giving me glow-in-the-dark plastic rats. It's the whole thought-that-counts thing that.... counts.

Which is what makes this Craptacular gift so extraordinarily pathetic. Not the gift itself, which--as far as I can tell looking at it through the plastic wrap--actually works. It's called a "Weather Stick". It is essentially a stick. A whittled stick. You tack it up on your house outside your door and it changes with the weather. And not in the usual jokey way, either ("if it's wet, it's raining...if it's white, it's snowing! HAW HAW HAW!") but it actually responds to relative humidity to bend up or down accordingly.

So a Craptacular gift that looks like a joke but it actually works, I hear you think. Why, whatever fault could Mojo possibly find with such an item? Rest assured, if I look hard enough I can find fault with just about anything! And in this case, the fault lies in what I know best, which is the marketing copy on the packaging they are using to sell this baby.

Now, marketing copy is marketing copy, people. We all know that. You ax-cen-choo-ate the positive, and try to ignore the glaring deficiencies of your product. If you are smart, you anticipate said glaring deficiencies and try to come up with arguments that make said glaring deficiencies look like intentional benefits. "Why, that hole in the bottom of the boat is there to equalize the air pressure in the cabin on hot days. If that hole wasn't there, boom! Your new boat would EXPLODE!" you say to a prospective boat-buyer. (That is, if you are in boat sales and you have no ethics whatsoever.) Rest assured that Mojo would never lie to you. But I certainly know how it's done, as no doubt do you.

Now, in NO WAY am I implying that these people are in any way lying about their product. In fact, let me reiterate, it is my anecdotal observation while glancing at this thing as it sits in the corner that it ACTUALLY WORKS and does what they say it does. But if I may say so, I PRAY one testimonial on their packaging is not true, because I have never read a sadder testament to a life even more dull than my own.

Sure, on the surface, it sounds like a great testimonial quote that any marketing person would LOVE to put on their product packaging. But if you sit and think about it for a minute (and all Craptacular readers are excellent critical thinkers who never take anything at face value. We ponder philosophically for hours about things when we should be actually working and doing something productive with our lives) I think you'll agree I have never seen a more horrifying statement in print:

"I have not received anything I enjoy more in years."

Ahem. Okay. Again, the product certainly seems to work; I have no problem with it there. But--let's face it, people.... it's basically a whittled stick. And Mojo's snarky yet magnanimous heart actually breaks when she reads that some poor person receives a whittled stick, and reports, " I have not received anything I enjoy more in years."

Oh. Dear. Somebody PLEASE buy this person some glow-in-the-dark plastic rats. If a whittled stick THRILLS them to such an extent they must write such a glowing testimonial, imagine what a real gift will do.

Now, none of you fall into this category, but once in a while my Craptacular auctions attract people who aren't quite as quick on the uptake as regular readers, so I really feel the need to repeat this, nice and slow, so it sinks in.

A...... whittled..... stick.

Mind you, it's not whittled with any particularly evident skill. It's not whittled to look like a duck decoy or a bunny rabbit. It's just whittled enough to get the bark off. I think you or I have both exhibited equal skill preparing our implements to roast marshmallows around a campfire.Since that is one of the many activities happy, well-adjusted families enjoy.

Again: "I have not received anything I enjoy more in years."

Hmmm. Okay. Let's remove certain intangible gifts we might receive from the equation, shall we? Like the love of family and friends, or the lifelong devotion of a Significant Other. Let's just deal with cold, hard quantifiable currency.


A.... whittled ..... stick.

I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing it. Am I being excessively intellectually snobby? It actually seems to work, so that raises its coolness factor up to a tolerable level, but seems to me most people regularly receive better gifts than a whittled stick.

I guess I should be happy for the person who can find joy in this, since joy is a precious commodity in today's world. But being a materialistic sort of trolleybags (that's an old Shakespearean insult we once read in high school and called each other that for weeks), I can't help but feel REALLY bad for someone who is so pleased when they are given a whittled stick they feel compelled to sit down and write the company about their joy. 'Tis a puzzlement.

In the meantime, for the Craptacular reader on the other side of the gift continuum—those who have given or received ALMOST everything among their family and friends--perhaps you have overlooked the simple joy and pleasure of sharing whittled sticks with your loved ones. And rather than going through the hassle of tramping through the woods and getting your feet cold and wet and finding one and whittling it yourself, isn't is so much easier to buy them pre-whittled! And a working indicator of relative humidity to boot! Yes, Mojo offers you this unique opportunity because Mojo cares so very much about the interpersonal relationships of total strangers.

Of course the average Craptacular reader is so smart I don't have to warn you not to tack this thing up to your back door right at eye level, huh. Because you're much smarter than that. But you might want to casually suggest to your less intellectually-inclined friends not to do that, should you win this auction and give this Craptacular gift to, say, a moron. Because they might be so transported with joy over receiving a whittled stick from you that they might not think properly for a few days. And it's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

So enjoy your weather stick, happy bidders, and may all the gifts in your life be at least equal to this stick. And possibly someday exceed the stick? Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. But at least now we have a cynosure against which we can safely measure all future gifts. Plus it tells the weather. Really. And now you have to look up what cynosure means. I happen to know what it means because I encountered it years ago in an Gilbert and Sullivan opera called "Patience" and I looked it up then. "Patience" is one of my G&S favorites, for it makes terrible fun of intellectual snots like me who use words like "cynosure". I heartily recommend it. Plus you can use your weather stick as a baton to keep in time with the music. If you win the auction, that is. So start bidding!