I know this is deeply trivial in the light of the state of the world in general, but I’m going to put you through it anyway. I don’t see why I should suffer alone.
Early yesterday morning I was slumped on the couch, interacting with my son, who – in blatant disregard for a public holiday – had encouraged me out of bed (a bed that had felt like the most comfortable bed in the world, the snooze-pit of kings, the Platonic ideal of sleeping environments) to accompany him downstairs to hang out, a little after six in the morning. His chosen form of relaxation was a box of Playdough-like materials, and within seconds of seeing the box my brow was furrowing. The illustration displayed the cool sea-faring creatures we’d soon be able to make – a sea horse, jelly fish, a few other weird-looking denizens of the deep. A panel said:
• 4 x Shaping Moulds
• 7 x 35g (Approx.) Dough Tubs
• 1 x Moulding Tool
Why is every word capitalized? It’s not a series of song titles, is it? “Hey! It’s great to be back here in Cleveland! You guys rock! Gonna play one of the old favourites now, our first ever number one: give it up for… Shaping Moulds!” Or a list of Damien Hurst artworks (and I’m using the words ‘art’ and ‘work’ very loosely in this context)? It’s not even in German, where I understand that proper nouns are capitalized. So why have they done it? Is it supposed to make it seem more official? And if so… why, again? The demographic here is the under-5s, and those who care for them. We just want dough. We don’t need Dough. Unless the capital means it’s money, rather than dough. But it didn’t. I checked.
Then the multiplication symbol – “4 x Shaping Moulds” – as if the whole business is being specified with military precision, taken an infuriating step further with: 7 x 35g Dough Tubs. Well thank god, you think, thank god they specified there’s 35g of Dough in each of those containers. A ‘Tub’ or ‘Lump’ may be a sufficiently precise unit of measurement for slacker parents, dull-eyed losers who just want some blobs of gunk to desultorily mangle into vaguely cat- or duck-like shapes. With bozos like that, what they hell do they care how much Dough there is? Me, I’m a high-performing parent. I’ve got big plans. I need to know exactly how much Dough there is in each Tub. What, do I look like some kind of fucking amateur?
But then you smack face-first into the dread word “(Approx.)” – and realize you’ve been gypped anyway. There’s not actually 35g of Dough in each of the Tubs, is there – it’s just (Approx.) – and suddenly I’m in a tense scene in a black and white movie:
“Well, Bob, we were going to use these 35g Tubs of brightly-coloured Dough to build that Secret Spy Plane we promised ourselves. But it turns out the damned measurements are only (Approx.) It’s not guaranteed that the quantities are correct to the nearest atom!”
“That’s a bad blow, Clive. I can’t lie to you. But… at least they capitalized everything, eh?”
“True Bob, true. And in these dark days, we have to take our comforts wherever we can. And at any time.”
“Are you… are coming on to me, Clive?”
I’m not sure who’s the biggest idiot here. The company which believes that specifying the weight of the Dough in the Tubs somehow makes it better or cooler or more official; the Customer who might sue the Manufacturers on the grounds there’s only 34.873g of Yellow in his particular Box…
… or me, for spending so long getting tetchy about all this that I looked up to find my son had gone behind the Television and started chewing Wires, just for something to do.
But, my actual point is… It turns out I was only (Approx.) right about the publication day of the paperback of BAD THINGS, which is apparently Thursday, not Wednesday. Duh. I’m sure you’ll agree, however, that this just makes a giveway tomorrow all the more exciting. So I’m going to do it then anyway, as planned. Which means you have about 24 hours to follow the instructions in the ‘Stupendous Bad Things Giveaway’ post below… Or, to recap:
Three signed copies of the BAD THINGS paperback will be going to randomly-selected Twitter followers, chosen at 12:00 GMT on April 15 – tomorrow.
Over and out.