The Cameron Column #46
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      From the Can You Believe The Nerve of Some People department: Circulating around my wife's school was a printout of my Column # 42 (the "chili supper" column.) Not only was the copyright and subscription information removed, but some guy named Kennedy had put HIS name on it as the author, and changed every reference to Cameron so that it read "Kennedy." Sheesh.

      Following the column footer today I have listed all of the countries in which your fellow readers reside. I copied them faithfully as they were written, so if they are made up, it isn't my fault. Thanks to everyone for responding to the survey! --- Bruce

      From time to time the subject matter of this column inadvertently drifts into something resembling journalism, which I assure you is purely unintentional. Today will be one of those days, as I publish the last annual W. Bruce Cameron Stupid Product Award.

      First prize this year goes to the electronics company Casio for producing a "Water Sports Watch." My family, thinking it would be a good thing if they could figure out a way to more directly associate my body with "sports," bought me one of these fine Water Sports Watches for my birthday.

      Now, it does tell time. In fact, it tells more time than I want to know about: 24 hour time, the time in China, the time in dog years, the time since you last checked the time... so I have no quibble with calling it a "watch." However, the first time I fell into a pool this spring (my son believes it fun to dash at my legs and topple me into the water whenever I am near the edge of the pool. He calls this "soaking the grump." I call it "flirting with death.") the watch, which was on my wrist at the time of the toppling, stopped functioning.

      "That's funny," I said, meaning it was not. I held the watch to my ear as if you can hear a digital watch and verified that even in that position it still did not display the time.

      A quick call to Casio assured me there was nothing wrong with the watch. "You're not supposed to wear it in the pool," the polite woman explained to me.

      "But it is a water sports watch!" I protested.

      "Your point being?"

      "Well, it's just that I am hard put to name a water sport that doesn't somehow involve water," I told her.

      To which SHE said (now remember, this is the truth) "Oh, the water sports watch isn't for people who PLAY water sports. It's for people who enjoy WATCHING water sports."

      Well heck, I should have been able to figure THAT out, right? So if you're in your family room viewing a water polo match on TV, your water sports watch will function perfectly.

      Son: "Are you enjoying the water polo on TV, Dad?"

      Dad: "Yes, especially since I can glance from time to time at my Water Sports Watch."

      This makes me wonder if there aren't a whole host of products out there with similar pedigree. Are there motorcycle helmets for people who merely like to WATCH motorcycles? Dog food for pets who only want to LOOK AT their dinners?

      At any rate, I replaced the Water Sports Watch with an Official Diving Watch that allows me to go as deep as 150 meters and still be on Zulu time. Of course, I realize that next time I go 150 meters deep in the water I will be, well, dead, but at least I can now participate in an afternoon of "soak the grump" without fear of losing track of what those fun loving Zulus are up to.

      Where do Cameron Column readers live? Here are the responses I received to a recent survey, in the order (and format) presented. Frankly, I had no idea I could speak so many languages!

Jerusalem, Israel
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Adelaide, South Australia
Hong Kong
U.S.S. Midway
Brussels, Belgium
Edmonton, Canada
Heerjansdam, The Netherlands
Warsaw, Poland
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Winnipeg, Mb Canada
Austin, Texas
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Canberra, ACT. Australia.
Sandton, South Africa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sakai-city, Osaka-Prefecture, Japan
Wollongong, Australia
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cebu, Philippines
Windhoek, Namibia
Hellevoetsluis, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands
London, England
Erding, Germany
Leeuwardden, The Netherlands
Dublin, Republic Of Ireland
Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands
Johannesburg, South Africa
Campbellford, Ontario, Canada
Niddatal, Germany
Montreal, Quebec, Canada (not a part of Wisconsin)
Nagoya, Japan
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Cambridge University, England
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Den Haag, The Netherlands
La Colle sur Loup, France
Beer-Sheva, Isreal
Ekaterinburg, Ural Mountains Region, Russia
Galway, Ireland
Cork, Ireland
Belfast, Ireland
Dresden, Germany
Munich, Germany
North Sydney, Australia
Stockholm, Sweden
Istanbul, TURKEY

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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1997
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