December 7, 2012

Photo Quiz

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be relieved to learn that I narrowly escaped serious injury in a drawer cleaning incident at my home yesterday.

It was the drawer in our kitchen where we throw stuff when we can't figure out what else to do with it. Everyone has one of those drawers in their kitchen.

I wouldn't have been fooling around in that drawer to begin with, but we'd reached that rare intersection in time when several of our battery cycles coincided - something like a lunar transit of Saturn, only for batteries. Usually, you run out of AA batteries one month, and then you run out of AAA batteries a few months later, and then, maybe once a year or so, you need D-cells.

But miraculously, we ended up needing all three sizes at once - a sort of alkaline syzygy.

So, off we went to Costco to replenish - along with our toilet paper stocks and dwindling reserves of peanut butter - our supply of those indispensable little cylinders that power the constellation of beeping, buzzing, and blinking devices that make modern life possible.

Imagine the paralysis that would seize our nation if, suddenly, all the batteries in all of the remote controls in every living room in the land were to die at once. We are not a nation dependent upon fossil fuels so much as upon batteries.

I think I made it through the 1960s and most of the '70s on a grand total of about 14 AA batteries. When anyone today alludes to the loss of innocence in America, that is the first thing I think of.

We returned from Costco with 64 rolls of toilet paper, a four-gallon vat of peanut butter, and the 'small' packages of three different sizes of alkaline batteries, which means in Costcospeak, a minimum of 36 batteries in each size.

If you know anything about the ungainly packaging of Costco batteries and the dynamics of a drawer that has been collecting household flotsam for over twenty years, you probably have some inkling of the precarious situation I was about to face.

It was somewhere between wrestling the D-cells and the AA's into an already overflowing drawer that this, well, this thing, came hurtling out, thudded to the floor, and nearly took off my toe in the process. It was the size of a brick and weighed what a brick weighs. It must have been stuck in the back of the drawer for at least 15 years, and I had absolutely no idea what it was.

It was made of gray plastic, had some numbered buttons on it, and a sort of stick coming out of it. I think it was some kind of fashion accessory from the early 1990's because I've seen movies from that period that show urban hipsters carrying them. I can't imagine how stupid those same hipsters would feel walking around with something like that today - probably as stupid as they'll feel 20 years from now walking around with tattoos all over their arms and necks and, well, just all over. You know how cruel urban hipsters can be when they spot you still done up in something that's so last year.

I was going to let this relic from the past go, until I realized this is photo quiz month in the blogosphere, so I thought if I posted it here someone might be able to track this down on the Google and tell me what the heck it is.

I really only need to know what it is, but if you also know what direction I was facing when I took the picture, what cabinet we keep our popcorn in, what that smudge on the floor is, and what Tillerman had for lunch yesterday, feel free to write that in, too.

It's the seemingly irrelevant details that breathe life into any photo quiz.

And, oh - here's a bonus photo to help you out, with the thing next to a shoe to help establish scale.

As with any photo quiz, originality counts and there's extra credit for all responses written in verse.



  1. O Docker is back.
    He's back on track
    And he still has the knack
    Even after months of slack.
    So what's that phone Jack?
    Could it be a Motorola Micro-Tac?

  2. Without a doubt
    You've got the cleanest grout
    Which is something to tout
    Your toutable grout is what I'm talking about

    A New Balance shoe I see
    The only shoe for me
    Got a pair of NB sneaks for every days of the weeks
    Cause no other shoe comes quadruple E

    And that looks like an old cell phone

  3. Thanks, guys.

    I was starting to think this might be some sort of communication device. Today's urban hipster wouldn't be caught dead hauling around something this size, though. It just messes up the whole silhouette. There's a battery on the back that's bigger and heavier than my iPhone. Heck, it's as big as the battery in my car.

    And what were they thinking with this industrial gray color? How am I supposed to accessorize with that? It's a fashion nightmare.

  4. I have such drawers throughout the house. As a result, I can never find anything of use, just junk.

    I see you had something to do with the production of Star Trek in 1966 and took home an early "communicator" as a souvenir. (Clever how they took a one or two syllable device - phone, cell phone - and gave it a five syllable name).

  5. you guy are silly , it is a shoe phone lite, the sport model. Jheeze!