12 Things That Prove Bad Inventions Always Have And Always Will Be Around
Does "Head On: apply directly to the forehead!" ring a bell?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with TV.
From cartoons to the NBC Nightly News, I couldn't get enough of indiscriminately gluing my eyes to every show that came on the screen. Sure, I went outside and played every now and then like any kid who doesn't grow up to be a chronic masturbator, but my favorite pastime involved watching "CatDog" and NOVA in equal measure.
I don't know why, but ever since I was very young, my parents let me have a TV in my bedroom. I'd stay up and watch whatever was on - literally, whatever. Whether it was a televangelist preacher, a heady film review show ('Ebert & Roeper,' fuck yeah) or an infomercial, it didn't matter. Moving pictures, sound and real talking people were just too much for me to resist.
When I got a little older and the Internet was suddenly everything TV used to be, I was quickly reminded of all the ridiculous old infomercials I used to watch.
I began digging up these old infomercials and was quickly reminded of their unapologetic awfulness. The production quality was hardly better than a home movie, the acting was just so cheesy and, more often than not, the products themselves were absolutely terrible. And of course, since the Internet has largely replaced TV these days, lots of websites now offer equally terrible - if not worse - products, just like the old infomercials used to offer.
Below is a list of some of the worst, most pointless products infomercials and the more obscure corners of the Internet has dreamed up, as well as a few commonplace products I simply don't really get. Feel free to educate me on some of these. After all, who knows - you could be using a thumb extender for iPhone 6s this very moment and absolutely loving it.
1. The Hawaii Chair
I remember seeing this commercial air late at night when I was in middle school, and even as a preteen, I knew it was a bad idea. Not a chance you'll actually be able to get work done while this thing wildly spins you around. Just look at how the woman has to support herself with her leg kicked out. Supposedly the chair doesn't do much to actually help you exercise.
I still remember wanting one, though, because it looked like a fun new way to watch even more TV. The Hawaii Chair was definitely a part of the "lazy exercise" movement - which included dubious inventions like the Flex Belt, which took advantage of consumers' over-trust of technology.
2. "Car lashes" eyelashes for your car
Marketed mostly to women, eyelashes for cars have been around for a while. They serve no purpose, and in my opinion are totally hideous additions to any semi-good-looking automobile. Nothing screams "tacky" like Car Lashes.
I remember seeing these on a car at a very, very young age, and even then I was like "why the fuck would anyone buy those," even though I had no idea what the word "fuck" meant or the concept of money in general.
3. And of course the "Carstache" car mustache (basically the guy's version of Car Lashes)
The Carstache exists because marketing gurus feel the need to enforce gender roles at every possible turn. "Car Lashes are for girls, Carstaches are for boys - that way, we can double our profits and keep everyone in their place," said the PR teams behind these, probably.
I didn't see one of these for the first time until I was in college, and I of course had to refer to the internet to see if a Carstache was a real thing you could actually buy, or if it was just something dumb some weirdo put on his car.
You know the guy from class who wears a fedora, an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt with a white T underneath, cargo shorts, transitions lenses and pairs blown-out New Balances with crusty gym socks? Yeah, that's the guy who'd put a mustache on his car.
4. Head On
This is on of the most memorable infomercials in my mind. The tagline was just so, so annoying. Head on: apply directly to the forehead. Head on: apply directly to the forehead. Head on: apply directly to the forehead. Head on: apply directly to the for...
You're probably not surprised in the least that this didn't actually work. A few weeks after I saw this infomercial for the first time, I remember hearing my middle school algebra teacher saying he'd used it. Apparently, his forehead broke out in hives and he had to go to the emergency room.
5. Thanko Thumb Extender
This invention hasn't really seemed to have caught on yet (duh), but it's still pretty new. In the age of the internet, infomercials aren't really necessary, but you could image the infomercial for this product would be a really doozy. "Have you ever had trouble moving your thumb across a three-inch screen?" *cue black and white montage of extremely stressed out people trying to use their phones in a normal manner, but are somehow unable to* "Worry no more!"
Yeah, this is totally pointless. It's also "not recommended for any other use," although it totally resembles a flesh light. Actually, maybe guys are just buying these fake thumbs to fuck them.
6. The UroClub
Yes, this was a real infomercial. I remember seeing it on late-night TV. I thought it was a parody at first - it looked just like an SNL commercial sketch - but of course it wasn't; it was just a really weird, gross invention some kinda creative person with extremely misplaced energy dreamt up. The weirdest part, though: MatCo Enterprises is still making the UroClub.
There was a time - I was 13 or 14 - when I was really interested in golf, and actually thought about buying one of these. Then I was like, "wait, I'm 13, not 93. I have basic control of my bladder." It must still sell fairly well with senior citizens, but it's still repulsive.
7. Decorative Hand Towels (bear with me on this one)
Yes I know, decorative hand towels are traditional items that basically everyone has in their homes. But what purpose do they serve, other than costing money and taking up valuable rack space?
Maybe I'm just biased against them. My grandmother used to discipline me for using the decorative towels in the downstairs of her house (I know - weird, why would I ever use a fucking towel hanging on a fucking towel rack to dry my hands? How dare I), and decorative towels have left a sour taste in my mouth ever since.
Decorative towels aren't advertised in infomercials, nor are they "a weird internet invention," but they're kind of like the "shitty, useless invention before shitty, useless inventions were a thing."
8. By the same token: decorative throw pillows
Again, what am I supposed to do with these? I can't sleep on them, and I just throw them on the floor next to my bed, where they remain 99% of the time. They're the Car Lashes of the bedroom.
I remember questioning throw pillows when my mom was teaching me how to make a bed when I was a little tyke. I asked, "mom what are these for?" She replied, "they're for decoration, sweetie." Okay, but what are they actually for though?
9. Sauna Pants
This is another one of those infomercials that seems like a parody. I hadn't actually heard of Sauna Pants until I was scouring the internet for the other inventions/infomercials in this list, and boy did I hit the motherload. Would you honestly trust these things not to fry your junk completely? I wouldn't. Plus, they look dumb as shit.
10. The Comfort Wipe
This might be one of the most repulsive inventions of all time, and it's a pretty notorious one. Can you imagine how filthy this thing would get? So fucking filthy.
I'm not sure when this product came out, but I do remember being viscerally repulsed by the infomercial and, of course, not being able to look away - it was TV, after all. Apparently it's selling okay, because Target still carries it.
11. Finger tongs
Exactly what they sound like, finger tongs are tongs for your fingers. Because why use a napkin when you could just as easily spend money on some shitty plastic invention?
I've always loved chicken wings, but the mess is part of the fun. It's an animalistic endeavor, ripping flesh and meat from bone. You don't see a lion using paw tongs when he rips apart antelope, now do you? This invention belongs perfectly on this list, because it doesn't deserve an automatic dismissal - it's something you could actually see someone buying, but it's still terribly unnecessary.
12. The Potty Putter
What is it with hack inventors trying to combine the idea of bodily excretions and golf? The Potty Putter is much more sanitary, and a lot more fun - hell, you could even pass it off as a half-decent gag gift. I don't understand why it has to me used exclusively in the bathroom. Couldn't you just use it anywhere you sit down?
I remember the infomercial for this very well, and I'll have you know that I really, really wanted my own Potty Putter. It just seemed like the most fun way to dump.
So what do all of these ridiculous items have to do with each other?
Some are old school infomercial fails, others are modern internet tomfoolery. But what they all have in common is that people made all these things, thinking they were the greatest ideas on the planet at the time of their release. This just goes to show that even though someone (or a lot of people, for that matter) might believe in an idea, that doesn't mean it's a good one.
For me, this was a bit of an exploration into my past. I relived a lot of childhood TV watching with all the infomercials, and I got a glimpse into what "modern infomercials" - crappy items marketed through the internet - are like for today's kids. Someday, we'll all be looking back on the commercial state of the internet in the 2010s and say, "God, wasn't the internet just so cheesy?"