Issue #28 (December 1983)
Who would suspect the perils in buying innocent gifts for children?
I pride myself, in this age of modern enlightenment, on being a feminist. No male-chauvanist-pig for me. I feel that it's a man's duty to accept women on equal terms and give her room to do whatever she's capable of doing. Besides, I have two daughters and, because I'm a feminist, I can
feel perfectly free to buy them electric trains and model airplanes.
...I began to notice a sort of nagging, bothersome noise.
[quoteright]Sometimes, I'm carried away with the enthusiasm of the moment and buy them things that I would never buy, were I perfectly sane at all times.
My latest bout with temporary insanity resulted in the purchase of two fireman's hats. What's wrong with fireman's hats, you say? These particular fireman's hats have a revolving red light on the top, and a miniature, but LOUD siren that goes Boobeeboobeeboobeeboobeeboo a'la British police cars.
They're battery operated.
Even in the fevered and enthusiastic state that accompanies my temporary insanity, there is something or somebody that watches over me. For example, I distinctly remember being given a choice of batteries. Alkaline, (long lived) or carbon (regular).
I chose carbon.
I brought the hats home. I was met at the door with an excess of enthusiasm (usually associated with the unknown contents of large bags) many hugs and kisses and "What's in the bag?" After properly destroying the cartons, many "oohs" and "aahs", and after properly installing batteries and adjusting chin straps, my gals sallied forth to impress their friends with their new hats.
It was only somewhat later, while I was busily at work deeply immersed in some study or other, that I began to notice a sort of nagging, bothersome noise. It wasn't loud, but it was persistant. At first, I couldn't make it out. There it was again, way off in the distance.
It was the hats. As it turned out, the hats were tuned to different keys, and I found myself stopping work and listening intently in an attempt to learn which daughter was closer to home by the tone of her boobeeboobeeboo...
Sometime latter, I was again distracted, but by a different noise. I glanced out the window and noticed an angry mob of neighbors, buzzing and mumbling and looking at my house. And off in the distance, boobeeboobeeboo...
It was at just about this time that I became truly grateful that some unseen force had made me decide to buy carbon batteries. Was the light a little dimmer? Was the boobeeboo perhaps just a tad quieter?
Anyhow, I feel certain that the batteries will eventually die, and immediately thereafter there will be mention in the Guiness Book of the worlds longest-lasting carbon batteries in an electronic fireman's hat.
As for me, I'm going to dash off a letter to the battery companies, suggesting that perhaps they are doing too good a job, and ask if perhaps they had given any consideration to making batteries that weren't so long lasting?
Some of the people I know would pay a premium for batteries like that.
This issue welcomes another Occasional Piece from Bill Harvey. We call them Occasional because it will be an Occasion if he ever talks us into paying for them.
BILL HARVEY used to submit his material to us with increasingly exorbitant demands for payment. One dollar, five dollars -- who knows where it would have ended? He is now satisfied with mere fame.