Harlock - Column for 8/14

Tools, Useless and/or Silly

Amazon.com has a rather dubious "Gold Box Buys" feature, where they offer you a discounted price on one item for 60 minutes. Pass on the item, and you get another item to look at, with a handful available each day.

It is, of course, stuff you don't want. Why offer deals on the popular items, right? Because I haven't seen anything even remotely appealing in all of the two times I've looked at the offerings before, it's not something that I think to check on a daily basis. Somehow, though, the idea to look just got into my head, and, hoo boy, it's still crap. This time it was dishware, something entirely forgettable, some tool for coffee making (either a maker or a storer; either way, totally irrelevant to me), a thrillingly expensive deck chair, and a sleek, shiny, and useless piece of tech.

The tech item being this: the Accutire MS-4000GB Deluxe Backlit Lithium Digital Tire Gauge. Mine for only $20.24! "Useless" being its value to me, of course. If you're a hip, stylish person who lives with the constant, paralyzing fear of having improperly inflated tires, then it's just the thing for you. I'm not that type of person. I have one of those tire pressure gauges that's a cylinder with a plastic measuring stick that pops out to give an approximation of tire pressure. On the two or three occasions that I've used it, I had to check the manual to see what the pressure was supposed to be, and the stick popped a value that was either close enough or not close enough. When it was "not close enough," I put air in the tires. The handy air hose at the gas station had its own little gauge thing, so everything pretty much worked out. At least, the tires didn't explode, and I consider that a success.

Hell, one day I drove on an almost-flat tire to and from work, about an hour each way. While driving, all I noticed was that the car felt sluggish. It's a good thing that it was the front driver's side tire, or else I might never have noticed it. Of course, a tire gauge wasn't really necessary then, either. But it just shows that I'm not one to obsess over the state of my car's tires. Are they on the car? Are they not on fire? That's pretty much my checklist.

Not that they have ever been on fire, but I'd like to think that it's something I'd notice.

So, silver-finish digital backlit lithium tire gauge? Totally useless. It would spend its life at the bottom of my glove compartment, instead of enshrined on the dash where my passengers could marvel at its deluxeness.

And since I don't have any gloves in my car, I think I'll start referring to it as the "car manual and other assorted papers compartment." Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Amazon also features as a "cool thing" the Death Stick TI7XXX Steel-Tipped Titanium Hammer with Hickory Handle ($89.99). Uh, what marketing genius decided to name a hammer "Death Stick"? The name is also emblazoned on the side, the words separated by a skull and crossbones. Since when did driving nails become an extreme sport? Does the owner of such a tool imagine that they're going to impress anyone with the badassedness of their hammer? I mean, besides their victims? If I see anyone using a Death Stick hammer, they're immediately getting categorized as a dangerous psychopath. Yes, as opposed to the friendly, helpful sort of hammer-wielding psychopaths.

Oh, and I also learned that there's a company named Freud that makes power tools and accessories for woodworking. That's just brilliant, isn't it?

Columns by Harlock