5 Things You Can't F#@k Up (Humanity Has Officially Ruined)
It takes a lot to make a great thing. You need to identify the task it's intended to perform, figure out the best way to achieve this, and then build it so it will perform well, look good, and preferably not outright bankrupt your ass. That's why things like iPods, Facebook, and, hell, the wheel (the round thing, not some cool social network you've never heard of) enjoy such an iconic status; they've managed to tap into what people need and give it to them in a brand-new, more efficient way.
But we're not here to talk about successful products, are we? We're here for the ... other ones. The products that manage to not only suck at their intended use but actually actively drag down the very concept they revolve around. I've ranted about a few of these things before, and it's finally time for Round 2.
The Diet Product That Ruins Eating
Goofy diet products might be largely bullshit, but no matter how crazy they get, at least they all more or less honestly focus on you, the person trying to get slimmer. They don't actively attempt to attack the outside world by trying to destroy the very idea of ever shoving delicacies in your face hole again. Well, unless you count Stink Yourself Slim, a dieting product that does precisely that.
Yes, someone made a product, tried their level best to come up with a catchy, marketable name, and settled for Stink Yourself Slim. Is that sad? Funny? I don't even know. What I do know is that the product takes the "few things are desirable after a skunk has nested there for a week" approach to dieting, by which I mean it's a spray that works by making your kitchen smell like ass. Though this is no doubt an effective method for making you less hungry, it must be noted that so is getting disemboweled by a rabid grizzly bear. Bazookas and mosquitoes, people.
"Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on our website."
-Real quote from disclaimer
Hilariously labeled under "Health And Personal Care" on Amazon, the actual workings of Stink Yourself Slim are as arcane as the strange skunk demons that planted the idea of this fucking thing in its inventor's head. Apparently, you're supposed to collect every single "dangerous" food item you own into a specific closet, which you then spray with the product.
Having effectively ruined your entire Netflix-binge stash, you will then proceed to lose all the weight because the closet now smells bad. How? It's a mystery! Perhaps the product contains some mystical chemical that renders you unable to, say, walk out of your freshly funky kitchen and go eat an entire McDonald's restaurant, or maybe the idea is to collect everyone's fattening snacks into your brand-new Skunk Closet so there will be none left in the world for you to chow down on. I'm going to presume the latter, if only because you're bound to lose a bunch of weight fighting back the pissed-off neighbors whose Snickers stash you just hijacked into your taint-stench-laced kitchen.
The Lozenge That Ruins Candy
You sweat, I sweat, everyone sweats. Work in a hot office for long enough and you'll be able to recognize your co-workers by their eau du armpit alone. That's why deodorants are and will likely forever remain among the highest sellers in the world of cosmetics -- you can look as hot as you like, but ain't no one going to give you a second glance if your every movement is closely tailed by G'horrag, the Elder God of nasty-ass perspiration. Not in the way you hope, anyway.
The problems with deodorants are plentiful and vary with the brand and type: Some leave you a sticky mess that might not stink but remains unappealing, others do jack shit to your sweat save for giving it a slight aroma of whatever the hell scent you erroneously think will improve your pit situation (pituation), and others leave you smelling like Axe Body Spray, which is the most frightening fate of them all. Luckily, the good folks behind Deo Perfume Candy offer another approach to your urgent sweat situation. Unfortunately, their solution is to make you eat your damn deodorant.
And buy it in a packaging that makes it look like tampons, to complete the embarrassment joyride.
Here's how it works, allegedly: The geraniol in the candy will get in your system, come out your pores, and make you smell like a rose, which is a delightful thing if you're a candy-obsessed housewife but slightly less desirable if you're a biker. The practicalities of the thing are another matter: A Popular Science writer tried to test Deo Perfume Candy back in 2013 and completely failed to summon a rosy scent of any kind. What she did find, however, is that, for what it's worth, the candy only stands a chance at working if you consume four or more large pieces a day. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that these particular candies are fucking lozenges. This will essentially turn you into your own toothless grandmother, constantly sucking on a piece of nigh insoluble sweet-rock that will slowly OD you with sugar.
As a result, the product's modus operandi is to slowly poison your face with candy while its chemicals conspire to turn your pores into those of a Disney princess. Does this sound enticing? It doesn't; just ask that PopSci writer. She lasted three days out of her intended seven before she grew sick of the very concept of eating candy. Oh, and she never once smelled of roses.
The Bullshit Trend Products That Ruin Coffee
I'm not a breakfast guy. That's not to say I don't like breakfast, mind you -- my engine just doesn't accept much nourishment beyond coffee until lunchtime or so. Like many office monkeys, I'm pretty big on caffeine, to the point where it's the one vice I have that I don't think I'd ever be able to completely quit. However, I do have one problem with the stuff: These days, it's everywhere. I'm not just talking about energy drinks and other obvious culprits -- there's a whole damn subgenre of foods with the sole intention of fucking caffeine up. Say you're having a delicious pancake breakfast and reach for the maple syrup. BOOM! Someone went and caffeinated it.
Because this is the only possible way of getting caffeine at the breakfast table.
And that's just one of the many, many, many needlessly coffeed-up products out there. Consider the caffeinated potato chips:
And you thought Pringles were addictive.
Which will no doubt go well with this caffeinated beer:
And you thought caffeinated potato chips were addictive.
And, of course, there's more. Name a food item and chances are there's a caffeinated version out there. Caffeinated chewing gum? Sunflower seeds? Fucking oatmeal? Check, check, goddamned check.
I understand that coffee is not for everyone, and the inherently creepy non-coffee-guzzling population sometimes likes to get its caffeine fix too. We have a thing for that; it's called "tea." But, instead, we as a society have decided to start caffeinating fucking potato chips and inhalers. And that, friend, is how we came to live in a world where you can't grab a bag of sunflower seeds without risking accidentally double-espressoing yourself in the face after already consuming a regular double espresso.
The Contraceptive That Ruins The Very Concept Of Taste
Before we begin, don't think for a moment that I'm ranting against condoms here. Condoms and the safe sex they allow are among humankind's most important inventions, and you better remember that the next time she reminds you to wear one, Steve. I also fully understand why flavored condoms are a thing, but we're not going to discuss that here; we're men and women of the world, so we understand these things without dialogue. (The balloons smell funnier that way.)
It's just that there are some things that aren't meant to ever, ever work together. Take bacon, a notoriously succulent foodstuff that is primarily known for its delicious, salty pig taste and the scalding fat that will invariably find its way to your naked skin as you fry your daily fix. Is bacon sexy? Absolutely. But sexy in a sex way? Shit no. Yet, somehow, someone saw fit to baconize condoms.
Take a wild fucking guess whether they were sold out almost immediately.
Congratulations, oral-oriented person! Your lover now comes in a brand-new, rancid pig flavor!
And that's just one of the many exotic flavors available. There are people who love to hang around cigar or pipe smokers, specifically because they enjoy the smell of tobacco. I've yet to meet a person who can say the same about weed -- that sickly sweet smell is less of a welcome aroma and more of an unpleasant side effect that people who want to get high just have to tolerate. I'm sure the comment section will be full of people who say I'm full of shit and they can't get enough of that ol' joint waft. I guess our next contraceptive is for those folks, then:
They're called Cannadoms, because of course they are.
Note to aspiring users: Anyone planning to buy these had better pair them with some ball armor, because whomever you can coerce into a tasting position is going to use your nuts as a punching bag the second you make that joke about your "fat blunt."
The Keyboard That Ruins Computers
My friends and co-workers are constantly amazed by how tech-illiterate I am, despite practically existing in various layers of intra- and extranets and regularly working on computers of both Mac and PC varieties. Not in a "grandpa forgot how to use the remote again" kind of way -- I can find my way around most programs and apps and online environments just fine. But when it comes to hardware, I have this small monkey in the engineering part of my brain that starts dancing and banging a drum whenever someone starts talking about ROMs and RAMs and graphics cards and whatever tiny gnomes have made the magic box their home.
This doesn't mean that I fear or despise computers. In fact, I think they're awesome, and I have nothing but respect for the people who build theirs out of scratch and constantly update their Internettin' machine with new parts and whatnot. A well-put-together computer is a piece of art.
And then someone goes and graffitis the shit out of Mona Lisa.
"Could you ever be angry at a picture of steak?"
"Of course not."
-Me, to myself, five minutes ago.
Like truck nuts on a Ferrari, Liil Graphic Keyboard instantly reduces your glorious computer into a source of impotent shame that you yourself find difficult to approach with anything but utmost caution, lest that food-laden print hide a spider or perhaps a dragon. The interface between you and the online world, once meant to be sleek, ergonomic, and functional, has been reduced to the exact opposite. No matter what's happening on your screen, your eyes are going to keep returning to the "cheap, framed poster in a shitty Italian restaurant" photo that resides under your fingers, which you'll keep instinctively wiping on your pants to clean them from the grease that your brain insists comes from the meat you keep pounding but is really leaking from the elderly meatball sub you dropped on your keyboard last week but haven't been able to locate thanks to its food camo.
Oh, and of course there are more pictures. Here, have a pretty fish:
Hahahahaha, oh God. I hope the FBI keeps a careful tab on everyone who orders that one, or anything from this company at all, for that matter. Not that it's a long list; there's no way anyone ever buys a print keyboard unless, say, some sociopathic bastard decides to browbeat them into making custom Goatse-print keyboards for everyone.
Be right back; updating my Christmas gift list.
Pauli is a Cracked weekly columnist and freelance editor. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter
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For more from Pauli, check out 5 Insane Erotic Toys That Prove We're Overthinking Sex and 4 Terrifying Crimes (That We'll Never Solve).