THE GOOD POINT
For the last few years, engineers have tried to reduce the number of
buttons and knobs on electrical appliances. It's a good idea. For example,
my father-in-law's 5-year-old TV set came with a remote that has over 70
buttons. It's not easy to figure out which combination of cryptically-labeled
buttons gets the TV to work, but it's dead simple to press the wrong button
and mess everything up. My father-in-law has taken to keeping the remote
control hidden. If I want to watch TV when he's not around, I have to kneel
in front of the set and press the tiny black rectangular buttons put there
for idiots who either lose the remote control unit, don't know how to use
it, or have destroyed it in a fit of frustration.
That's why I like my Good Point electric pencil sharpener. It doesn't
have any buttons and it's more entertaining than TV. Be honest &SHY; which
would you rather listen to: an anchorman talk about a clutch of ducklings
found inside an abandoned tractor tire, or the synesthetically
delicious sound of a spinning helical steel blade grind
your wooden pencil to a fine point? And which would you rather watch: a
sitcom about young coastal urbanites with glamorous jobs they never attend
to, or tiny corkscrew-shaped wood shavings eject into a smoke-tinted plastic
receptacle? What's more, while TV sets may one day come with odor synthesizers,
I doubt the olfactory experience will come close to the pleasure of withdrawing
the pencil from the sharpening hole and savoring the smell of newly-released
aromatic oils and resins previously trapped within the wood.
Not only does the battery-powered Good Point delight the senses, its
small size and footprint mean you can always keep it on your desk. It's
four porous rubber feet provide just the right amount of friction to prevent
the unit from sliding when performing a one-handed sharpening maneuver,
yet they'll compliantly break traction should you want to slide the sharpener
to a different location. I can understand why the Good Point comes with
an instruction manual &SHY; a few people might need to be told how to install
batteries and empty the pencil shavings receptacle &SHY; but I can't figure
out why the following procedure is included:
TO SHARPEN PENCIL:
1. Push pencil vertically downwards into sharpening hole. Avoid pressing
2. Hold pencil firmly while pencil is being sharpened.
3. After sharpening, remove pencil. Motor will stop automatically.
Does anyone need to know how to use an electric pencil sharpener? You've
got a pencil, it's got a hole. If you need to be told how to proceed, then
it's probably safer for everyone that your pencil stays blunt. -- Otto Matik
Good Point: US$10. Royal Consumer Business Products: +1 (908) 526 8200,
Fax +1 (908) 704 6571.
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