Catho the Sane visits Canadian Tire

In So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, the fourth of five books in the Hitchhiker trilogy by Douglas Adams, our hero Arthur Dent travels to California to meet a man called Wonko the Sane. Wonko’s house is inside-out, with brickwork and a nice garden inside (or “outside the Asylum”, as he calls it), and nice wallpaper, carpeting, and outward-facing furniture against all the outside walls. Wonko explains the purpose of his inside-out house as follows:

“I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, the poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”

The words that inspired this final realization are displayed “inside” the house, above the door that leads into the Asylum, to discourage Wonko from entering. They read:

“Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion”.


“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”

Now, I think old Wonko might be slightly off-base here. I mean, I once had to teach my Dad, an intelligent and educated man, how to use dental floss because he professed not to know how it worked. So maybe we do need instructions in our packets of toothpicks.

However, I do agree that the world has gone insane and needs to be put in an asylum of some kind.

I had my own final realization yesterday, in the camping equipment aisles of Canadian Tire. While Mr E Man perused collapsible coolers and gazed longingly at hunting knives and fishing gear, I entertained myself by looking at all the little plasticky gadgetty things.

Now, I’m a sucker for gadgets. I’ve bought the Scoop’N’Strain and the Grip’N’Flip off the TV – but those are actually useful things that serve a unique purpose. So I did have to restrain myself slightly in the camping equipment aisles, with my usual refrain of “that’s cool, oh but I don’t need it, but it might come in handy, oh right but PLASTIC IS TEH EVULS!!!”.

Until I spotted my Wonko the Sane item.

At that point I abandoned all restraint and whipped out my iPhone to take a photo for your amusement:

That’s right, folks – someone has seen fit to design, patent, manufacture, and market a piece of plastic that has the sole purpose of propping open your cooler lid while the inside dries. No longer must you improvise with wads of newspaper, sticks, stones, pencils, or any of that other primitive nonsense – what are you, a savage??!! Nope, you must buy this item that will outlast you, your species, and probably your planet in a landfill somewhere….

…because the world has gone stark raving bonkers.

If anyone needs me I’ll be moving all my furniture outside and planting trees in my living room.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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39 Responses to Catho the Sane visits Canadian Tire

  1. chall says:

    …all these things you didn't even know you needed ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Lisbeth says:

    Bonkers indeed!You might enjoy this page every Wednesday: They featured 'your' cooler-dryer-thingy last year:๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Chall, indeed! We must CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME!!! It is Good For The Economy!!!!Lisbeth, thanks for the link! I'm ever so slightly disappointed not to be the first to break the news of this remarkable new product to you, but happy to find such an entertaining blog!

  4. Dr. A says:

    Speaking of dental floss, the other day I saw a container of TRAVEL-SIZED dental floss. Why? Because if I have to take my FULL sized dental floss, I will not have room for my watermelon cooler! so those are useless, but really.. which of you ladies could resist the TIDDY BEAR?

  5. Alyssa says:

    That is an absolute must-have on everyone's Christmas list this year!

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Dr. A, I know, I've seen that too! Because regular sized dental floss is just soooooo heavy and bulky to pack!The watermelon cooler is hilarious. I can't watch videos at work but will check out the tiddy bear later :)Alyssa, I know I'll be very disappointed if I don't get at least one in my stocking!

  7. DrugMonkey says:

    When is a Canadian cooler ever *empty* of ice and beer? Pointless device, eh?

  8. ScientistMother says:

    So seriously you have to improvise to dry the cooler? Doesn't everyone just flip it upside down???!!!The travel size dental floss is awesome for keeping in one's purse!

  9. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    DrugMonkey, well, during the ski season we usually keep our beer in the snow around the hot tub, eh?ScientstMother, but then it gets sand/leaves/twigs/dirt in it!

  10. ScientistMother says:

    How do you get twigs and dirts in it? that has never happened to me. You flip it on its side the with the lid on open on the ground.

  11. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    All I know is that on our last multi-day car camping trip, people kept turning all the coolers upside down to drain before putting fresh ice in, and as a result there was all kinds of dirt and leaves and stuff in all of them. If you're draining the cooler at home then it probably doesn't happen, but when you're doing it in a forest camp site, these things happen!

  12. Dr. A says:

    ScientistMother – do you also have a travel sized Chapstick?

  13. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    BLOG FIGHT!!!!!This is awesome. Who knew this post would stir up such controversy? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. pika says:

    I think you should steal the idea, produce the same thing from some organic recyclable material, patent it and have it mass produced in China.

  15. Nina says:

    Not sure which is funnier now, your post or the comments :)I must admit that on fieldtrips < 3 days I just take 3 pieces of dental floss instead of the whole gigantic plastic container they are in. But I know how to floss without the instructions, so I can do that.

  16. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Pika, I'll get on the phone to Dragons Den right now!Nina, I love it when this happens. And who knew that there are so many people in the world without enough space in their luggage for regular sized dental floss containers?! Mr E Man always complains that I pack too much stuff on any given trip; maybe I'll try your dental floss trick on our camping trip and impress him with how much space and weight I've saved ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Dr. A says:

    Maybe it's just that I use the free dental floss I get from the dentist? Are spools of floss really that giant? Or is it the packaging? I guess some people DO need some room to include instructions for use ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    I dunno, the kind I buy comes in a pack that's about 4cm x 2cm x 1cm, not exactly huge!

  19. ScientistMother says:

    Dr.A – Do you keep dental floss in your purse, along with your glasses, your childs' glasses, wallet, keys, manicure set (for fixing broken finger/toe nails, pulling out tweezers), phone, 4 toy cars/trucks because OMG the child will DIE if he does not have all FOUR monster vehicles with him at all times, until he decided want to hold them, emergency snacks for child who is always hungry? Yes I keep dental floss in my purse, because I floss after lunch. The little tiny travel size fits nicely into my very small makeup bag. so pHHTTTCath – I admit its been awhile since I've camped, but when I did, we used the spot on the side to drain….

  20. ScientistMother says:

    oops bad spilling, i use the spout on the side:)

  21. Dr. A says:

    SM: Not judging you based on the size of your floss package! I do have most of that and more in my bag.. including my 2 inch floss box from the dentist. And I really am genuinely curious about how much is saved by travel sized floss! (And seriously wondering if there is travel-sized chapstick.)

  22. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Is "bad spilling" in that context perhaps the best typo ever seen on this blog?

  23. ScientistMother says:

    PHHHTTTT to all of you.:))) Its monday morning, I drank waay to much this weekend so there.Dr.A – I don't know, I don't have big purse, bc the 2 males in my life seem to think the bigger the bag the more shit they can ask me to carry…I like the tiny size, takes up less space.

  24. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    ๐Ÿ˜€ this is hilarious!!!

  25. Dr. A says:

    BTW dental floss is a great tool to carry, for more reasons than teeth cleaning. I've used it to sew and to tie things while traveling. Although, not sure if I could have fixed the button on my trousers with only a travel-sized amount!Suddenly I have Frank Zappa's "Montana" in my head..

  26. Anonymous says:

    That watermelon cooler will really come in handy as an infant stroller when summer rolls in.-antipodean

  27. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Dr. A, that's a whole other blog post, right there…Antipodean, I think my cats might appreciate it too! It's currently so hot that they're too lethargic to even chase spiders, and their usual wrestling matches have slowed to one tenth of the usual speed.

  28. DuWayne Brayton says:

    Holy shit!Am I the only person who just picks the fucking thing up and dumps the water out, setting it upright again with the damned lid open?(And seriously wondering if there is travel-sized chapstick.)WHAT!??!?! Everybody doesn't have a fucking travel sized chapstick?* Has the world gone insane!?!?!?I suppose it's the purses. Y'all are lucky – you have purses. Unless I happen to be going to class, or the coffee shop, all I have are pockets. It's a lot easier to just keep the necessities in the pockets. Full size chapstick is out of the question. Without small sized everything, my shorts start trying to work there way down. I am not keen on showing off my unders.* Ok, honestly, it's because I like teh burts bees shit and the big ones are too expensive – mainly because one of my children generally manages to abscond with them long before they are used up.

  29. Dr. A says:

    OK. I am a cosmetics junkie, how the hell could I not know about TRAVEL SIZED CHAPSTICK!?

  30. DuWayne Brayton says:

    Hmmm…Apparently they're sample sized. A friend of mine sells all sorts of that sort of crap and apparently has been selling me samples. Though to be fair, he doesn't charge me much and I go through a lot of them in the winter.

  31. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    DuWayne, I'm always giving Mr E Man a hard time for keeping so much stuff in his pockets. I do all the laundry (and he does all the dishes – I think I got the better deal), and I'm always emptying out screws, screwdrivers, drill bits, sawdust, $5 bills, coins, and all kinds of other washing machine wreckers. (And yes, tubes of blistex in the winter). I'm still holding out hope that manbags will become mainstream!

  32. Dr. A says:

    MANBAG? That is a disgusting word. Just call it a satchel, or a bag.

  33. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Are you trying to start another fight?!

  34. microbiologist xx says:

    I'm daring to not comment on the dental floss, etc. However, much the same as instructions on how to use a toothpick, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry when I noticed the warning on my car sun visor (that giant cardboard thing that covers your entire front windshield). It read: WARNING, do not drive with visor covering windshield. Really? Really!! People actually don't have enough sense to know that you shouldn't drive your car when the entire windshield is covered up with an object that is not transparent in any way shape or form.!?!

  35. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    ARE YOU SERIOUS???!!!I guess this is the logical conclusion of a litigious culture…

  36. Pawl Bearing says:

    Candian Tire once carried a plastic tire-replica swing. Yes, the world's hardest to dispose of commodity and there's plastic replicas of it.

  37. microbiologist xx says:

    I wish I wasn't, but yes I am totally serious. I wouldn't be surprised if it also had warnings about how it's not fit for human consumption.

  38. DrDudeChick says:

    Manbags… There is at least one country in the world, where they are not only mainstream, but also a fashionable accessory: Japan :-)It is for real!

  39. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Pawl, welcome to the blog! The plastic replica tire swing is… depressing.MXX, I think that warning is pretty much standard issue now, except on most packaged food, where it actually belongs!DrDudeChick, oh my! Mr E Man's birthday present is all sorted now!

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