Humor Column: It’s Funny

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People who know me can tell you that my brain never stops working, that I’m always thinking. For example, right now I’m thinking: “What did I do with that donut I had here a minute ago?”

But sometimes my thoughts are even deeper than that, such as when I recently came up with the marketing scheme that will finally give me the millions of dollars of disposable income I so richly deserve. I’ll tell you about it, but you have to promise not to steal it, OK? OK, I trust you.

It’s all based on the fact that men don’t like to shop. “Hey, that’s not news!” you’re saying, to which I respond: “I’m still getting to the point, so SHUT UP!”

I’m sorry I snapped at you, I’m just a little antsy because I’m so excited about my idea. See, men don’t like to shop, and everyone knows it, and yet no product manufacturers have ever taken advantage of this fact. And so men have to buy all this stuff they don’t want but have to use — toothpaste, shampoo, clothes, etc. — and they become increasingly dissatisfied with the American marketplace and with business in general, and that’s how militias get formed. “I’m sick and tired of having to choose among 10,000 different kinds of soap!” the men will say. “I’m moving to Montana!” Unless they are already in Montana, in which case they will say, “I’m going down to the 7-Eleven to buy a rifle!”

So if manufacturers really wanted to earn any loyalty from the men of this country, they would start selling products that cater to men’s needs and wants. Or rather, that’s what they SHOULD have done. I’m doing it now, so it’s too late for everyone else, nyah nyah nyah.

What I’m going to sell is a line of products designed and named specifically for men. It will be all the stuff men have to use, but don’t like to buy because of all the choices there are. For example, shampoo. Few men would disagree that shampoo is an item they must use if they intend to remain a functioning member of society — and if they DO disagree, then they greatly overestimate how much society is willing to put up with before it kicks them out — and yet men find shampoo-buying a hassle. Why? Because there are a million different brands and types of shampoo, including some that smell like fruit. How did someone decide that people’s hair should smell like fruit? You know what your hair should smell like? It should smell like hair. Having an unusual odor is the reason your hair gets washed in the first place.

And then there’s all the various things the shampoo allegedly does, or what kind of hair it’s for. There’s shampoo for dry hair, thin hair and oily hair, not to mention other varieties with conditioners, enricheners, herbs, spices and NutraSweet. Some shampoos claim to leave your hair “full-bodied,” while others say they “restore” things that somehow get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of being hair.

All this is wasted on men. Men don’t want their hair smelling like anything; they don’t know or care what kind of hair they have; they just want a shampoo that will get their hair clean. Period. But still, whenever they need shampoo, they have to look dazedly at all the options they have, staring minute after minute, trying to figure out what kind they’re supposed to get, and then they finally give up and buy whatever’s cheapest.

My line of products will start with shampoo. The name of the product will be — follow me here — “Shampoo.” The catchy advertising slogan will be: “It Gets Your Hair Clean.” The TV commercials, rather than lying about vitamins and minerals your hair needs and showing actresses using the shampoo so vigorously that it causes them to hyperventilate with excitement — instead of all this, the commercials will be five seconds long and will go like this: A man holds up a bottle of “Shampoo” and says, “Shampoo. It gets your hair clean.” The end. Then, when men go to the store looking for shampoo, they’ll see: “Shampoo.” They won’t consciously remember the commercial because of course men don’t remember anything, but subconsciously, something will stir. And when they see the slogan — “It Gets Your Hair Clean” — they’ll say, “Hey! This gets my hair clean. That’s exactly what I need!” And they’ll buy it.

There will be soap available, too, of course. Men don’t care about one-third moisturizing cream, or doesn’t dry your skin, or doesn’t leave a sticky film on you that won’t rinse away, or anything else. They just want something that will wash the dirt from their bodies. My product will be called “Soap.” The slogan will be: “It Washes the Dirt from Your Body.”

Other products in my line of hygiene products will include “Deodorant” (“It Makes You Not Stink”), “Toothpaste” (“It Cleans the Crap out of Your Teeth”), “After-shave” (“It Burns Your Face”), and “Hair Spray” (“You’re not Supposed to Use This; You’re a Guy”).

We’ll also have a line of clothing. The one thing guys dislike more than buying toiletries is listening to Celine Dion. I mean, have you ever heard that woman SHRIEK? My goodness, you’d think she was on fire or something. But the OTHER thing guys dislike more than buying toiletries is buying clothes. They just want to run into a store and grab the first thing that might fit them, whereas women will bring picnic lunches and camping gear and spend an entire DAY just in one store’s “socks” section.

So we’ll have “Pants,” “Shirts” and “Shoes.” The slogan for all three? “You Wear Them.” There will be no need for belts, because the “Pants” will all have built-in elastic, thus causing them to stay up no matter what. The elastic also means one pair of “Pants” will fit anyone. There will also be no need for socks, because the “Shoes” will have white socks in them, firmly attached. And ties will become a thing of the past, because when you buy a button-up “Shirt,” you’ll find that it has a tie attached to the collar, already tied and looking sharp.

As you can see, I’ve thought of everything. The only thing I need is a financial backer, just to get the ball rolling. Once we have the products out there on the market, I’m sure we’ll wake up one day soon and discover that we’ve become millionaires over– Oh, good, I found the donut. Forget I said anything.

This column is reminiscent of "How to Do Stuff Better" in that it contains some "brilliant" idea that I think would be very successful if put into practice. It is also like that column because I spent several months just TELLING people about my ideas before ever writing them down -- sort of "field-testing" the material.

Note another appearance of a recurring "Snide Remarks" motif: making fun of people from various geographical regions. This time it's Montana; I've hit Alaska and Canada several times each; Payson, Utah, once; and even Zimbabwe. It's not that I actually consider myself better than any of these people. It's just that geographic regions carry stereotypes with them, thus making for easy comedy.

The title of this column -- "Humor Column: It's Funny" -- is a little backward. Normally, the titles (which are rarely printed in the newspaper, by the way, being replaced with regular headlines instead) are a sort of pun or wordplay on the subject matter. In this case, the extremely generic title definitely relates to the subject of the column -- but you don't realize that until you've read the whole thing. So I hope no one was too confused at the seemingly unrelated title, and that it all made sense in the end.

I enjoy this column because the first several paragraphs seem to move along very quickly and breezily. The writing seems energetic, and energy is difficult to convey in writing. I usually can't do it; that's why I'm boasting about my success with it here.

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