OK, given the manifold possibilities associated with coronavirus: serious illness, death, bankruptcy, starvation, fewer episodes of Eastenders, it came as something as a surprise to me to discover that many people considered that not being able to go to the hairdresser was the worst problem they could imagine. Now, I realise that it matters so little to me because I am by nature a scruffy bugger, but I can’t for the life of me imagine why it does matter quite so much to anybody else. None-the-less, times being what they are, and philanthropy being the order of the day, I felt that I might be able to help. I remembered, in the years of my sallow youth, that it was possible to buy a DIY hair trimmer, which resembled a Stanley knife blade fixed to a comb, although I could not remember what it was called. Like everybody at the moment, I have time on my hands, so I found myself a comb, a Stanley knife blade and some Sellotape, and I improvised. To my utter astonishment, my little construction worked in exactly the same way as its predecessor of some fifty years ago: it took a huge jagged hank out of my hair and left me with a laceration to my scalp that a couple of weeks ago would have required stitching, but now, a liberal application of super-glue and a hat. But it set my brain whirring.
You see, I was young during the great days of K-Tel and Ronco, when new products, similar to the hair trimmer (Was it the Trim-o-Matic?) appeared upon our TV screens almost daily in a branded nuclear arms race of tat. All of these products had a number of features in common:
1. They were made from the kind of plastic that shattered into a thousand tiny razor-blades if dropped, shook or stared at in an inappropriate manner
2. They were always designed to do something you never knew needed doing
3. They never did what they were designed to do
4. They always broke the first time they didn’t do it.
It struck me that now could be the time for the return of the great days of built-in obsolescence and in my own modest way, I would like to offer the following suggestions. (In my days of yore, somebody would have paid for an illustrator at this point, but I am afraid that you will have to use your imagination. If you don’t have one, do not despair, you may be a chartered surveyor.) I have almost certainly copyrighted these designs, so don’t even think about it…
Self-removing gloves – you all know the problem. You wear the gloves so that you don’t have to touch infected stuff, and then you have to touch the infected gloves in order to get them off. Well, now you can relax. These little beauties are made from an incredible new material, invented by NASA specifically for Russian underwear manufacturers, that falls apart after – or in times of stress during – the first wear. Simply use the gloves for whatever sordid task you have planned and then sit around for an hour or two without touching anything whilst they slowly decompose with the kind of must usually associated with field-latrines. Guaranteed to leave an unsightly stain on all types of flooring that cannot be removed with any generally available cleaning product.
Self-removing glove stain remover – will stubbornly refuse to remove the stain for which it was designed, whilst effortlessly lifting the surface from the floor, the sole from your shoes and the skin from your hands. Please note: this product is in no way similar to oven cleaner and anyone suggesting that it is merely an over-labelled bottle of Mr Muscle will find themselves tight-up against the iron fist of British Justice (or Big Geoff, as we call him).
All-over body wrap – a giant roll of cling film designed to shroud the full body and thus completely protect from the coronavirus. In reality you will be completely unable to find the start of the roll and will eventually shred the whole thing in a huge explosion of impotent rage.
Telescopic ‘shaking’ hand – a slightly soiled and shop-worn mannequin’s hand crudely gaffer-taped to the end of a two meter garden cane which enables you to safely shake hands with people you meet. The hand will fall off the stick during its first use, which is just as well, as it may be diseased and in need of incineration. The soiled hand can subsequently be retrieved with my cunningly designed Clamp-o-Crap – an over-sized pair of plastic scissors from which one blade will shear on initial ‘snap’ and take the crotch out of your trousers, at which point you will almost certainly stop worrying about the tatty plastic hand in the gutter.
The socially-distancing hat – a construction-site hard-hat with a javelin stuck through it. Defy anyone to infringe upon your personal space from front or rear. Perfect for family gatherings and camping holidays
To purchase any of these products, simply email me your bank account details, National Insurance number and a list of dates when your house will be empty.
So now you know what happens when I’m stuck at home on a diet of red wine and peanuts…
‘Homer, lighten up. You’re making ‘Happy Hour’ bitterly ironic.’ – Marge Simpson