You hear about the stories that were successful … or almost successful … or successful for a while … or spectacular failures. You don’t hear much about all the busts that fizzled.
Here’s a few to place in a category:
- Pet rock – direct from their website: “PET ROCK tm is the only pet you’ll own you’ll never need to feed, walk, bath(e), groom, or neuter! Pre-trained to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and best of all your Pet Rock is the only pet that will never run away!” For only $19.95, the Pet Rock seems to be making a comeback. Don’t you wish you had thought of this?
- Curved Barrel Machine Gun – a 1953 invention, this M3 submachine gun had a curved barrel so that you could shoot around corners. You never knew where the bullets would go but you could shoot a lot of them.
- Cigarette Pack Holder – In 1955, somebody invented a device that would allow you to smoke through an entire pack of cancer sticks at one sitting. Another bright idea was a two-person holder so you and a friend could smoke the same cigarette. If you could get the friend to buy the cigarette, you come out pretty good … except for smoking a cigarette!!
- Anti-bandit bag – John H.T. Rinfret came up with this idea in 1963. It was a case with a collapsible bottom. Pull a chain in the handle, the bottom falls out, the contents fall to the ground or floor, and the bandit is foiled … unless the bandit has a gun and shoots you for making him pick up everything he’s after.
- Beanie Babies – There were nine originals when first produced in 1993. I bet you’ve got some in a closet somewhere. They were huge until they weren’t. I know people who saw them as collector’s items but the fad faded. For a time, some folks flipped Beanies as much as 1000% on Ebay. Knock-offs began to appear as the bubble burst.
- Cat-Mew Machine – Normally, there are two kinds of people – those who really love cats and those who really don’t. The Japanese came up with a mechanical cat that meowed 10 times a minute and the eyes would light up. It was supposed to scare rodents. Its unintended consequence was that even cat lovers wanted to throw the thing against a wall. My favorite saying about having rpets: To a dog, people are family – To a cat, people are staff.
When Moses was on the mountain to receive word from God, the Israelites got tired of waiting on him (Exodus 32). Was he coming back? What had happened to him? What are we supposed to do in the meantime? They decided to pressure Aaron, the brother of Moses, into inventing an idol so they would have something visible to worship. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We invent gods all the time. Sometimes we distort our God to fit our whims and desires. We bow before a lot of idols that don’t deserve our attention much less our worship. The first commandment Moses would bring back to the people made it clear: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Does that make God insecure or jealous? No, it means that the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of life knows how badly we need to keep Him first and only. Now, that’s a good idea!