I was walking through Chapters(1) on Saturday, looking for something for a friend, when I saw it:
A ball of elastics. You know, like you put together in your first job when you were bored out of your skull, and couldn't think of a single thing to do? Possibly you even spent days working at this, but all you had were the ugly, boring beige elastics, because your company was to cheap to get coloured ones. Maybe you even stole a few of the ones that come with broccoli at home, in your mother's Fenian drawer, because they were good for starting the ball. And possibly your ball was quite large, and weighed a bit, and yes, you really were that sort of child who came home with notes in her report card about fidgeting.
Possibly. But, not quite. These elastics were colour co-ordinated, and the ball was perfectly round. It was just perfect.
And, this ball of elastics cost $12.50.
Think for a second. Who sat in a marketing meeting and thought "I've got it, we are going to sell a ball of elastics, red, blue, yellow, green, all wrapped up, and we are going to charge, umm, $10, no better make it $12.50? It'll be a best seller man, we'll make our fortune."
And then, after I had spent more or less the whole weekend with this ball of elastics running through my head(2) - mostly wishing I had given into my baser self and seen if it would bounce off the wall of self help books next to it, just as I was typing this,
(No, really, I did)
How do you put that together? Do you suppose there is a machine? It can't be by hand, that would be demented. And how would it feel to be the inventor of that machine? Would you go to cocktail parties, and with a glass of white wine in one hand and a shrimp voulavent in the other, would you look at the other guests and say "I'm filthy rich because I made a machine that puts elastics into balls. Yes, that's right, any colour, any size ball(3), we hold US Patent 2211028, and baby, I don't mind saying, that little patent has us rolling in the dough."
And who comes up with this sort of thing? What kind of a life do you have to lead? We've got war torn regions, anopheles mosquitoes, Jon and Kate divorcing, and someone came up with a machine that puts elastics in a ball. Who is that person?
All of that aside, I can't help but think: I bet the ball really would have bounced off the cupboards above my co-workers' heads. With a thunk and everything.
(1) like Borders and Amazon, if they also sell useless office supplies, in addition to being out of every book you might want to buy on a given day.
(2) Yes, it does disturb me that I spent that much time thinking about this - but there you have it.
(3) I know what you are thinking Aunt Becky, and I'd just like to remind you that God is watching.