Today, in one of the century’s most stunning what-were-they-thinking moments, Apple decided to name its new e-reader the iPad, despite the fact that they probably want women to buy it. Bad move. I’ll spare you the many possible jokes about feminine hygiene product- related names Apple could have given this thing (just google “ipad” and “stupid name”).
Instead, I would like to discuss the obvious, but endlessly interesting question: what were they thinking? I don’t know what they were thinking, because I can’t read the minds of people who don’t appear to have them, but I’m pretty sure I know what they were saying: “Great name, Steve.” “Yeah, great name.” “Fabulous name, Steve-oh.” I guess it’s obvious that the naming people were all men. And like men everywhere, none of them wanted to talk about .. . well, you know, the time when women (a) often don’t want to have sex and (b) become people men think are crazy. The thing is, I am certain these Apple people are familiar with the maxi-pad, the mini-pad, the scented maxi pad, the unscented maxi pad, and the maxi pad with wings, because they often have to go to the drug store for their wives/girlfriends/daughters to get those PADS. Nevertheless, they let this name be attached to a product that pretty much nobody can ask for without feeling at least slightly contemptuous of the people who named it. I also feel sorry for the people who have to sell it.
It turns out that they don’t conduct market research at Apple, like we always thought they did. They do things because they’re too embarrassed to tell Steve Jobs that he’s a numbskull. Maybe Steve will suggest they lower the price to $4.99 and they’ll all be too embarrassed to tell him he’s being a moron. The only upside I can think of to this is that everyone in America will find it ridiculous — republican, democrat, independent. It will unite us, although it will probably not get a health care bill passed.
Still, really, who among us has not had a “what was I thinking?” moment? And because I know Steve Jobs is obsessively googling “why are they mocking the name of my new tablet computer, the one I could have called iTab if I wasn’t such an idiot”, I’d like to now describe one of mine. It might make him feel better. But probably not, because his mistake is in the New York Times, and other news outlets people actually read, and it will soon be something Jon Stewart talks about and my mistake is one that is buried in a grainy photograph in the Washington High School yearbook from 1976, which isn’t being broadcast or delivered to people I don’t know. I’ve been considering this all day, and have decided that each decade (okay, each year, but who’s counting) of my life has, within it, at least one of these moments. But I’ll start with the 1970s:
During my first year in high school I was that girl who, like Reese Witherspoon in Election, ran for everything, raised her hand even when all the teacher did was yawn, and had recently discovered irony and sarcasm but had not yet discovered that many other people had too. I was also skinny, wore glasses, had a weird sense of humor, and my fashion sense was as undeveloped as I was. The only reason I was the president of our class that first year was because nobody ran against me. And why did they not run against me? No, dear reader, it was not because they were scared I’d win. After all, the year before, I had managed to lose the slam dunk Class Treasurer contest even though I ran on a slate with my friend Debi, who was a goddess and, therefore, likely to get me swept into her new administration just because I appeared to be breathing the same air she was. Also my opponent was someone who, though a nice guy, was often teased for being so very smart. Even more than I ever was. Anyway, I thought I had a lock on it. Plus, we had good signs, because my friend Debi’s sister, Faith, painted them and Faith was a legend in the cheerleading community in part because of her ability to knock out spirit signs (you know, the ones that read GO PATRIOTS!) in enormous quantities. So, I think my point was that if I lost THAT election, there was no election I wasn’t capable of losing. Nobody was afraid of me.
What were they afraid of? Well, being class president wasn’t a very demanding job, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the work load that scared them off. In fact, the only thing you really had to do was organize the student ID card sale, and even that was organized by someone more efficient than me. But what you did have to do was this: If your class lost the contest to see who sold the most of these cards, then you had to submit to being made into an ice cream sundae at an assembly full of jeering students. And that is why this election was uncontested. What was I thinking? Who knows? I remember I wore to the event a construction worker hat (god, I just remembered: I actually wore that hat to school regularly because I thought it made an ironic statement) and overalls. But what I remember most, other than the odd feeling of having strawberry ice cream, nuts, and whipped cream dumped on my head (I was in a wheelbarrow with the guy from the other class that lost while this occurred), was my dad’s reaction when I asked him to come pick me up. My parents never, ever picked me up or took me anywhere. So I never asked them to pick me up. But because I felt I could not walk home with chocolate sauce running down my neck, I called my dad up and said I’d had a little accident with my clothes. He actually agreed to come, possibly because I was a little hysterical by them, in part because the ice cream was melting throughout my overalls. When I got into his car he looked me up and down and said, “Well, that probably wasn’t such a good idea.”
I’ve experienced, on facebook, a sudden influx of people I went to high school with. I’m hoping this memory has faded.
Tune in next time for the 90s moment.