Saturday, January 08, 2011

It's the Playoffs: What Are You Wearing?


Why would I ask such a question?

I'm totally serious, but not in a fashion sense. It's not about having officially licensed gear, your own nickname name on your jersey (with your age or #1), or squeezing one's body into Under Armour® like an overstuffed sausage casing. What I mean is consciously selecting what you wear to help your team on game day.

Tomorrow my Baltimore Ravens are playing the Kansas City Chiefs. And when it's game day, I have superstitions. When it's the playoffs, they're off the charts. And they're stupid. I don't really believe what I wear or don't wear has any impact on the game, but it allows me to feel a part of the game.

So I wear purple Hanes® (anyone else hear Hendrix?) boxer briefs, pictured...yeah right.

I also don a Ravens shirt or jersey. The problem is, I only have two shirts and there's a good chance I haven't gotten to the laundry. I won't wear dirty clothes. And I don't buy jerseys every year so mine are usually of former players. Now, if it's of a retired Hall-of-Famer, big props and we're headed to the Super Bowl. But if it's a released hack, or someone who plays for another team, I think that's actually bad luck. So then I might go with something that reflects team colors. Luckily, white is always an option if my time is the visitor. --Wow, I am a lazy-ass fan. These athletes work out all week and I can't even schedule a load of laundry.

There's no way I'm alone in this, so 'fess up, people. What do you wear on game day?

Monday, January 03, 2011

My Favorite WTF Commercial

I realize that acronyms like WTF are ridiculously overused, but I don't know what else conveys my reaction to this particular ad more perfectly every time I see it. And because I still see it several times a day, I am compelled to comment. Also, because I'm incredibly opinionated, I feel compelled to comment. It's from a company called InventHelp®.

Don't get me wrong. I am a strong believer that it takes many failures before you reach success; otherwise, you're not really trying. And I'm very impressed with inventors and entrepreneurs. I even had my own business in the 90s. The statistic I heard quoted the most was: "Ninety percent of all businesses fail in their first year." So when I made it through my first year, I thought I was in the clear. Then I learned, "And after that, another 50% fail in the second." Suck.

My business lasted four years. It was fun and challenging but it just didn't provide a reliable, steady income. The only reason I started it? After being laid off in the recession of '92 (that wasn't acknowledged until '93), and 75 unanswered résumé submissions, I had to make more than Unemployment Insurance offered. OK there were only 74 unanswered submissions, but I really dodged a bullet not accepting that one job offer, which is a blog in itself.

My company was AlphaNumerics, a data/writing/computer service. Basically me for hire. It's still registered, and I still have one client.

Back to the commercial.

Here's a transcript:

"Do you have an idea for an invention or new product? Bill Schafer, co-inventor of the Splash Wash did. He came up with the idea while watching his children play. InventHelp submitted his idea to Wham-O®, maker of toys like the Frisbee® and Hula Hoop®. To find out how InventHelp can help you to try to submit your idea to companies, call for free information."

Now if it just stopped there, you might think, "Hey! They helped Bill. I have a great idea. Maybe they can make me rich!" But they close with this last friendly disclaimer, and not at a hundred words a second like so many other ads. And it makes me laugh every time:

"Bill Schafer made a financial gain with his invention. Bill's experience is not typical and most inventions are not successful."

Who would pick up the phone after that buzz kill?

P.S. My favorite Wham-O® product ever is Trac Ball®.