The Gift That Says (and does!) It All

Via the fabulous website, Very Short List, I came across this incredibly clever faux-advertisement for a new invention in phone-ware: The Pomegranate (be patient: this website takes a while to load, but trust me, it’s worth it).

Please drop whatever you are doing right now and spend 3 minutes surfing this website. The Pomegranate is not just a phone…it’s an entire lifestyle. And that’s not because you can do email/watch a movie/listen to music/take a photo or any of the other features that are now standard on most mobile phones. No. In addition to all those pedestrian i-functions, this phone also pours you a cup of coffee, shaves you, and has a built-in harmonica. I half expected a woman to jump out and do a lap-dance by the time I was done examining this creature.

It reminded me of those ads for “The Ginsu” when I was young (anyone??): “But wait! There’s more! It slices…It dices…”

I’ll admit to being initially conned by this ad (it’s actually an ad for Nova Scotia, but never mind.) I finally copped on when, looking at the built-in voice translator feature, someone orders garlic fingers in Farsi  (yes, despite the PhD, I’m a bit slow at times…). But I think what’s really great about the ad – Nova Scotia or no – is that it plays into our fantasy that life would be so fantastic if we could just have everything at our fingertips. Even if you didn’t believe that the lovely blonde lady was actually brewing a fresh cup of Colombian coffee in 30 seconds out of the bottom of her mobile phone, for a second, didn’t you just wish she could?

It reminded me of a friend of mine whose boyfriend once gave her a room full of all of her favorite things for her birthday. At first, it seemed like the most thoughtful gift on earth:  all of her favorite foods, soaps, gadgets, chocolates etc were all laid out in some cottage, just waiting for her.  What’s not to like? But then we sort of scratched our heads and thought: there’s something wrong with this picture.

After all, what’s the point of growing up if everything is easy? Part of the challenge of adulthood is what I call multi-sourcing:  figuring out how to meet your different needs, learning how to get things from different places,  balancing the different strands of your life even when they collide. When we cease learning, we cease growing up. And what fun is that?

I’m sure the Pomegranate folks were just out to showcase the innovative talents of their small, relatively under-noticed province and not to offer some deeper existential commentary, as I’m tenuously trying to do here. But seriously, folks, nestled inside this ad (right behind the movie projector) is a message. (And I think I can safely say many of us are guilty as charged.)

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