By Amy McCollom
One of those ads popped up on the side of my computer screen the other day for a stick. I thought, “Really..a stick?” Who would buy a stick? How much was the price of this stick? Was it a special stick? So it had gotten my attention, and I clicked on the ad.
Turns out, it was a special stick made for walking. A ‘walking stick,’ as it was called. Not just any walking stick, but a special kiln-dried (for durability) walking stick. Now I’m no dummy, but last I heard, if you put wood in or around a fire, it doesn’t make it more durable. In fact it kind of makes it, well, crumbly. I could be wrong; I am not a scientist and do not profess to know how heat affects each molecule of the particular type of wood in that stick. I’ve just sat around campfires before, and observed what happens to sticks.
This stick was said to be more than 100 years old, and hand-chosen and carved by a world-class wood carver who lived at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. The walking stick cost $39.99 plus shipping. Wow, that must be some special stick. What amazes me is that it looked like any other old stick I could find in the woods around here, minus the bark. Oh, but this stick included a rubber tip and you could add a handy leather strap for an additional cost.
The way the ad was worded, I was nearly convinced I needed this fancy stick, before I came to my senses. There have been times I have had trouble walking, but I have three different canes, two sets of crutches, a rolling scooter, and a walker if that happens again. My favorite cane is stainless steel and has a squishy handle too. I do not need a fancy walking stick, although perhaps I should look into making some.
I can see it now: I could start my own small business. Special walking sticks, hand-picked from the land of Lincoln in the heart of America. Made from trees that have given shade to our forefathers, a relic and a treasure to be handed down from generation to generation. Beautiful enough to adorn a mantlepiece, but sturdy enough to withstand the weight of it’s duty. A true masterpiece of craftsmanship, whittled by hand and de-barked by the calloused hands of a walking stick artisan whose ancestors came here on the Mayflower. Get a true sense of pride when you hold this firm wood in your hands, and think of the log cabins built on the plains by the settlers who toiled here.
This classic piece can be yours for $39.99 plus shipping and handling. Limited original pieces remain, order now!
Could I sell you a ropeless jump rope instead? There is actually such a thing. I thought I was seeing things, so I clicked on that advertisement too, but it was correct. There really is a jump rope with no rope. Basically, it is two handles that have a counter in one of them, and you swing them around and jump like you are jumping rope, and the handle counts how many times you jump. I wouldn’t want the neighbors seeing me do that. At least you wouldn’t fall and break your arm or something. The rope does come with it, and is totally optional to use. The big selling hype is that the jump rope is made to be used without the bothersome and cumbersome difficulty of trying to actually jump over the rope. I thought that was the fun of jumping rope. But whatever works for people, I guess. If people want to pay $30 or $40 to buy an invisible jump rope, that’s up to them. I laughed pretty hard after reading about it.
I do admit that although useless, the Pet Rock was a clever thing. I had one. But some things just go way out there. Kudos maybe, for creativity, but I can think of a better way to help the world than create Handerpants (underpants for your hands) or the Ostrich pillow (where you stick your head inside a pillow to catch a quick nap.
Looking online for dumb things to buy, I found a cow sweater (for cows to wear), a pillow shaped like a loaf of bread, a bathmat that leaves bloody-looking footprints when you step on it, ant-infused lollipops, silicone finger covers for eating chips, a potato with your face scanned on it, instant underpants (just add water), bacon-scented soap, pickle-flavored cotton candy, a saddle for your dog, Putin’s head on a shrimp refrigerator magnet, lightsaber chopsticks, a giant tongue so you can lick your cat, and a book called Crafting With Cat Hair. I am not joking.
There are so many more things out there, and a huge amount of them especially not appropriate to mention, that I realize people spend too much time thinking about how to become rich and less time about how to make the world a better place.
Too bad no one has come up with a way to make electric cars recharge their own batteries yet, either by solar or by inertia or by wind power. I bet if there was a contest and Bezos and Elon got together and put up a $250,000 prize to fix that problem, there would be an answer soon enough.
But that’s just me thinking. And I’m just a little ole budding walking stick artisan in the heartland of America. A future small business owner with a dream and a pocket knife. Let me know if you wanna buy a stick (wink). I’ll pick you out a good one.