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Smell the Coffee: Product reviews are the latest in comedy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some new products on the market seem designed for ridicule.

Take, for example, Bic's new "for Her" line of pens. Ad copy for the pastel-colored pens touts its "elegant design" and "thin barrel to fit a woman's hand."

Claims that triggered some of the funniest product reviews on Amazon.com that I've ever read. Pages and pages of them.

"Finally! Something my delicate lady hands can wrap around so my tiny woman brain can write! What a blessing!"

"These pens look attractive and feel great, but every 28 days or so they get all testy and will only write in red ink."

"I was so excited to get these pens. It's great to finally be able to coordinate my pens with all of my kitten heels! I feel so much more put together when I'm doing the weekly grocery shopping."

"My man friend helped me order this product as he said it would be very useful for me. I was disappointed to find it wasn't shoes, an oven or dishwashing soap. I don't know what to do with them, which is a shame because I like the colors. I've arranged the thingies into a pretty glass vase for now."

"I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my callused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks."

From a man: "I was getting stuff ready for poker night with the guys and grabbed a pen to write down a few things I needed from the store. I meant to write, 'To buy: beer, chips, salsa.' Instead, I found the pen writing, 'To do tonight: pedicures, talk about feelings, retail therapy.' I had accidentally been using my wife's Bic for Her pen. A friend accidentally used his girlfriend's Bic for Her when he wanted to jot a quick note explaining he ran to a neighbor's house. He wrote a love sonnet instead."

By the time I'd read all 353 comments for the Bic for Her pens, I was laughing so hard tears were running down my leg. Considering that I'd been feeling down when I'd started reading and was now positively giddy (albeit damp), I decided I needed more reviews to read. So I searched.

One of the first finds was for the Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable. You wouldn't expect a product that promised "the purest digital audio you've ever experienced" to be something that would inspire comedy, but it did.

"Sure, it's almost $10k for a cable that's just 59 inches long, but I used it to connect my computer to the Internet and was able to get stock quotes that were about 10 minutes in the future. In just an hour, the cable paid for itself."

"This cable far exceeded my expectations for a neural frequency emitter (brainwashing mechanism) that I've been perfecting. The signals from the emitter transmitted beautifully, along with information from six parallel universes. I now have a dimensional rift in my laboratory. Half my scientists fell through. Fortunately, I should be able to close the rift with a second cable, but must first wait for Amazon to ship the blasted thing. If only I had invested in a Prime membership."

I skipped over to a few book reviews, including one for a book called "How to Avoid Huge Ships," one of the latest in the author's series of similarly titled books.

The very first review had me rolling.

"I live near a park and frequently walk around the local area. Given the amount of dog mess on the pavement, I thought this book would be the ideal read to stop me having to scrape my shoes on the grass before going home. It was only after it arrived that I looked closely at the title and realized it said, 'How to Avoid Huge ShiPs.' A simple error that means I am still treading on massive examples of canine excrement, but I read the book anyway and am pleased to say I'm not having near misses with huge ships anymore."

"Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn't find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined."

But this last was my favorite:

"As the father of two teenagers, I found this book invaluable. I shudder at the thought of the increasing influence of huge ships in the lives of my children. I remember the strain I caused my own parents when I began experimenting with huge ships. The long intercontinental voyages that kept Mom and Dad up all night with worry. Don't even get me started on the international protocols when transporting perishable cargo. To think, I was even younger than my kids are now! Huge ships are everywhere, and it doesn't help that TV and movies make them seem glamorous and cool. This book helped me approach the subject of huge ships with my kids in an honest, open and nonjudgmental way. I'm confident that my teens, when confronted by a huge ship, are much better prepared to make wiser decisions than I did."

Reach Karin Fuller at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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