If, like most of us, you find yourself secretly hating rich people now and then, it's probably because of the stupid and frivolous shit they buy. Even if you're not a Marxist, you can't help but think of the starving children of the world when you see some douchebag professional athlete sitting on his yacht, his trophy wife on the phone scheduling yet another cosmetic surgery. A whole segment of our economy is dedicated to making ridiculous shit for these shallow douchebags.
But a whole lot of lives have been saved by that ridiculous shit. For instance ...
#6. Jacuzzi: Hot Tub Healing Machine
Nothing says "class" like having a Jacuzzi hot tub at your disposal. It's the luxury of choice for orange New Jersey hood rats, young black rappers and wrinkly old white guys alike, as well as any other differently colored people who enjoy relaxing romps in bubbly hot water. Hot tubs are so universally associated with sex and decadence that we imagine the inventor as some kind of pimp granddaddy.
Who looks like this.
Its Noble Origin
Hot tub inventor Candido Jacuzzi, far from being a decadent playboy, was actually a dedicated father who invented the Jacuzzi to treat his son's debilitating pain.
The seven Jacuzzi brothers immigrated from Italy at the beginning of the 20th century and made their livings manufacturing pumps for airplanes and agriculture. Unfortunately, Candido Jacuzzi's son Kenneth was only 15 months old when he was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis. Jacuzzi took his son to doctors, who could offer no more hope than occasional hydrotherapy treatments at the hospital. The sight of his son suffering caused Jacuzzi to break down into depression and feel powerless against the disease.Oh wait, no. Jacuzzi didn't boo-hoo into his mustachio -- he fixed that shit.
To the Jacuzzi Cave!
Using their knowledge of pump-making, Jacuzzi and his brothers set about designing a hydrotherapy device for home use. In 1948, they came out with the J300 portable pump, which could turn any bathtub into a healing spa. Kenneth Jacuzzi could get hospital-quality hydrotherapy at home, thanks to the work of his pops.
The device originally was sold as a therapeutic device to drugstores, but then the company found more sales in home luxury. The company improved the design into the modern Jacuzzi all-in-one hot tubs throughout the 1960s and into 1970s, single-handedly creating the decadent culture of hot tub stripper parties.
Is it too late to award Candido Jacuzzi a Nobel Prize?
#5. Botox: Originally for Wonky Eyes
Botox has been a wonder drug for shallow people who fear they may actually be mortal and thus age like a human (or worse, emote like one). The wrinkle-reducing and face-deadening substance is made from botulinum toxin, one of the deadliest neurotoxins in the world. It is the cause of bacteria-borne botulism outbreaks, which can paralyze or kill victims. During World War II, the U.S. military even considered having Chinese prostitutes slip botulism-filled capsules into the food of high-ranking Japanese officials. That's how deadly the stuff is.
So what gave people the idea of injecting a neurotoxin into their faces? Did some mad plastic surgeon start injecting random shallow people with anything he could find?
"The needle sings to me."
Its Noble Origin
Botulism found its way into cosmetic surgery thanks to an ophthalmologist who was trying to cure crossed eyes and muscle spasms. In the 1960s, Dr. Alan B. Scott discovered that botulism Type A relaxed hyperactive muscles and could correct strabismus, or crossed eyes, in monkeys.
Finally a reason to use this picture!
In 1978, he got FDA approval to test the procedure on human subjects and found that the modified botulism cured spasms of the eye, face, neck and vocal cords. And by "cured spasms," we're not just talking about getting rid of nervous twitches. Thanks to Botox, there were people who could see for the first time in years and others who could speak only when the drug relaxed their vocal cords and necks. Sufferers of everything from cerebral palsy to Parkinson's disease got relief from Botox, to the point where a drought of the drug in 1986 debilitated thousands of patients.
It wasn't until 1992 that a study confirmed what many doctors had already observed -- that botulism Type A improved the appearance of frown lines. Which probably explained why cross-eyed people had turned those frowns upside down over the previous few years.
#4. Yachts Are the Lone Rangers of Sailing Vehicles
Nothing says "good weekend" like taking a trip out to the Hamptons, meeting your old Ivy League chums at the yacht club and taking a spin around in the old S.S. WASP. The only thing bluer than the clear skies and still waters is the blood of the average yachtsman.
"We have literally never seen a black person."
Yachts are such a symbol of wealth and privilege that Yachting magazine warned its subscribers about the risk of pirates targeting private yachts off the Somali coast. The targeting of yachts is a sad reversal of history, as there was a time when the yachts used to chase the pirates.
Its Noble Origin
Yachts were actually invented by Dutch traders who needed small, fast-moving ships to intercept attacking pirates. These small vessels could quickly maneuver around the larger ones and allow crews to take on pirates and fortify trading ships. They called the boats "jachts," from the German word "to hunt." Their purpose was simple: Go in, kick ass, kill pirates.
They were the Bat-boats of the sea.
They became a symbol of luxury only when King Charles II, returning to England from exile, was presented a yacht by the city of Amsterdam. Charles took a liking to the boat, and soon his little brother, the future King James, got one too. Like most rich people, the first thing they did was race boats, with Charles winning the first race. The popularity of the boat cost the yachts their badass image, making them a mark of effeminate wealth and luxury.
It's hard to intimidate pirates when your boat is associated with high heels and killer legs.