Also, when I was your age, we walked ten miles each way to school in smog as thick as pipe smoke, wearing respirators, through mudslides, while being chased by serial killers. And we LIKED it that way. -- Tjames Madison
Since firing the SF Comical as my newspaper two years ago, I've kicked over to the
Internet as my main info source for the goings on in the real world. It's really good to
be able to get a balanced viewpoint from multiple sources with just a few clicks. The
place I usually start is on Top Stories at Yahoo. There, the neatly subdivided sections
guide me through the global morass with relative ease. Over the last year and a half,
there was this item in the Business and Technology sections entitled "Ginger" or "IT".
Seems there was quite a buzz over whatever "IT" was. Entire books speculated as to the
identity of "Ginger," various financial pages touted "IT" as some ground-breaking,
evolution-turning gift from on high, and the promise of the mystery's resolution seemed
calculated to keep us all salivating as much as possible while we waited. But today, the
wait finally ended.
A SCOOTER? ALL THIS FUCKING HYPE FOR A SCOOTER? Jesus Harold Christ on a popsicle
stick! We've been duped!
Okay, I'd admit that it looks pretty neat--kind of like riding Princess Leia's hairdo
while steering with her stiffened, vertical tongue. I hear it's almost as hard to fall
off of, too. But a transportation revolution? Puhleeze. Whatever failed dot-com
marketing maven came up with this load of utter balderdash should quickly exit the
country and disappear before the laughter of an entire educated populace causes her to
lapse into a fatal depression.
A brief study of IT demonstrates the grand delusion of it's stated purpose. IT has a top
speed of 12 mph. That's about half the speed limit for the average residential street in
suburbias throughout the nation. Just how people are supposed to get from their homes to
their offices via this tortise-like contraption isn't stated by IT's creators. I guess
the new owners are supposed to stick to the side streets in their 'hoods, as straying
into a commercial zone could get you flattened by a frustrated Geo Metro owner.
IT's also useless in an urban environment. Granted, I've enjoyed a righteous chuckle
imagining an IT pilot careening down the hills of San Francisco or Seattle (especially in
the rain), but I've have had an even deeper laugh trying to picture BART or CALTRAIN
commuters tucking the li'l 65 lb. Gingers into their seats on their way to and from work.
Think one of these things would fit on a crowded MUNI bus in the morning? Envision
hundreds of them on the sidewalks downtown, too; will there be any room left for regular
IT's going to be a very wet ride in the morning should you elect to scoot to work during
a deluge. This little sucker provides even less elemental protection than a standard
seated motor scooter, and I didn't notice any specialized rain suits on display at the
product unveiling today. And what about snow? Did the engineering geniuses behind IT
believe that we'd all be content to do snow doughnuts in the driveways of our homes? A
"breakthrough" that's only good for sunny, dry days, huh? Oh, the utility!
This whole thing smells of a product makeover--the kind that was necessitated when
dot-futures went bust and the desirability of an a crossover Tonka Toy-pogo stick went
the way of the dot-stock option. How else were the designers going to interest the
public in a $3,000 scooter? By suggesting that you're a Luddite if you don't own one,
that's how. "Bigger than the Internet," forecasts the product's inventor. Translation:
you'll really be living in the dark ages without one of these babys!"
Riiiiiiiiight. I'll just do my American duty and rack one up on the ol' Visa right now!
HELL, GIMME TEN OF THEM SO I CAN FINISH CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR THE FAMILY IN JUST ONE
STOP! LOOK OUT--WE'RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD ON TWO WHEELS!
Ahem. Sorry about that. I let my excitement get the best of me. Or maybe it was the
pain of another burst bubble inflated by a marketing hype machine that's fed by the
media's ever-present need to bring us the NEXT BIG THING, whether we need it or not.