Grandiose Non-Starters
By R. D. Flavin

11-13-2015

     For some time now I've wanted to start my own business. I once thought 'excarnation.org' would be a great idea for people who wanted to give BACK to Nature after they passed on. For those who highly regard the animals of the woodland, their dead body could be tied to a tree in Alaska (or any state with good predatory carnivores) and the animals could have a snack or three with the body. Those deceased who cherished the oceans could easily be dragged behind a sailing vessel and serve as fish-food for the hungry underwater creatures. And, for those who just cherish the sky, a platform could be built and the corpse stretched out upon it so the wild birds could peck away to their little fowl heart's content. However, I realized the business idea was a grandiose non-starter and likely illegal for the most part. Still, many of our ancestors had similar practices.

     One of my more recent grandiose non-starters (aka – hare/hair-brained schemes) is the manufacturing and marketing of designer adult diapers. As we're seeing more and more adult diaper television commercials, usually with a fit and trim elderly gentleman, there is now an adult diaper commercial in prime-time circulation featuring an attractive middle-aged woman who actually hikes up her short dress to reveal she's wearing a pair of all-white, extra padded adult diapers which, when the dress is lowered and she walks away from the camera, is form-fitting and barely noticeable. Well, with such open popularity, I would assume it's only a matter of time before plain white is supplemented by various designs, artwork, and such. Folks wear regular underwear with designs and artwork (hearts, flowers, Superman and other comic-book heroes, as well as various sports-teams), ...so, I would guess such personalization will sooner rather than later encompass the adult diaper market. But, with my luck, someone's already developing the idea...

     Some grandiose ideas make it past the non-starter stage and are actually marketed and sold ...for a short time. There was the absurd 2000 marketing gimmick of selling Heinz tomato ketchup (called EZ Squirt) colored green, purple, blue, orange, pink, and even teal as a means to appeal to young children, along with the standard red-colored tomato ketchup the company had been selling for since 1876.. At the time, Heinz probably had a significant market share, but capitalism, greedy stock-holders, and the dedication to not only be number one in the ketchup condiment field, but also to eliminate or marginalize the competition. It didn't quite work out as Heinz had planned and the dyed tomato ketchups were discontinued after a matter of a few months. However, with Heinz selling 650 million bottles of their tomato ketchup annually, I don't believe they have anything to fear from Hunts or other ketchups. [Note: I still don't understand why the Swedes put tomato ketchup on their spaghetti when tomato-based pasta sauces are readily available.]

     Another notable marketing mishap occurred in on April 23, 1985 when Coca-Cola tried to get 'hip' (and increase profits) by changing the ingredient formula of Coke and switched from cane sugar to the much more inexpensive high fructose corn syrup and selling the soda concoction as 'New Coke'. Coke's advertising campaign claimed the new product tasted more like Pepsi... Sure, right, and folks didn't appreciate the switch and complained loudly and often. On July 10, 1985, Coca-Cola gave in, discontinued 'New Coke' and brought back the cane sugar-based version with the name 'Classic Coke'. I remember the widespread consumer excitement, which I foolishly bought into, and recall standing in a long line to buy my first (and only) can of 'Classic Coke'. With a cold can in hand, I took a sip and immediately felt like an idiot and consumer pawn... I was and remain a Pepsi drinker and never cared much for Coke. Well, I do make an exception when R.C. is available as I'm Roman Catholic. Okay, poor pun, as I know R.C. stands for Royal Crown cola...


A cartoon about seaweed toilet paper and ...a roll of TP printed with the logo of the terrorist group, ISIS.

     In a city far, far away (Chicago), a long, long time ago (early-'90s), I had occasion to use the men's room at a gas station and was forced to wipe my behind with that awful beige, stiff, and rough toilet paper. It got me thinking, and eventually I imagined a seaweed-based toilet paper with the idea the natural salt might be good for the ol' anus opening of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Now, between 2012 and 2014, I was designing labels for an Irish bloke who had sold seaweed products in Ireland some years back, and now wished to manufacture and market soap with seaweed and powdered in capsules in Beantown. The eerie fellow could never raise the necessary cash to get any project started (I only got paid occasionally) and I disassociated myself from him last year. But, not before I suggested my idea of seaweed-based toilet paper, which he rejected straight away (likely because he hadn't thought of it first). Browsing the Internet, I've noticed mentions of the possibility of seaweed-based toilet paper, but didn't actually find any for sale. And, another non-starter bites the dust. However, I remain convinced it's not a bad idea and certainly better than cleaning up with TP with the ISIS logo printed on it (see pic above). I know, forget the three shells and go straight for the washcloth and bucket of soapy water...

     Ideation and actualization is often, as Thomas Edison expressed it, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration (Harper's Monthly, September 1932). Talent and innovation may manifest in some from their early years (it's said Mozart wrote his first symphony at the age of eight) through old age (Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses was a working (and quite accomplished painter until she passed at the age of 101). Most are familiar with the popular saying, “"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." The same or something similar could be applied to many disciplines and professions. It's a safe bet I'm not meant to be an inventor or marketing whiz, and must be content with my writing and researching abilities. Now, if only I could discover a cure for cancer or invent a means to achieve cold fusion...

A dreamer?  I'm not the only one,

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