In time for the holidays
I was perusing through the Coop's holiday catalog to see what I might buy my friends and family; after all, I do most of my Christmas shopping there. MIT has provided us with a bevy of new items with the famous MIT logo to surprise and delight under the Christmas tree. Officially licensed Tech products are available even in stores besides the Coop, such as Newbury Comics and the Kendall Square Marriott Gift Shop.
And if you've been in these stores lately, you've seen some of these items. There are, of course, clothing items: the T-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, nightshirts, jackets, sport shirts, polo shirts, and more. In addition, there are other official MIT products, such as baby bottles, key chains, stationery, pens, scarves, you name it.
However, things have been getting a little more bizarre with the addition of some new items to the MIT repertoire. Take, for example, the MIT panties for women, which are actually available at the Coop. They feature the MIT logo predominantly in red on a white panty. Ladies, if you are going with a man from MIT, and you want to ensure that he will not be able to perform one evening, slide a pair of these little beauties on. Just as things are getting particularly heated, reveal the strategically positioned MIT logo, and your partner will be cured of sex for weeks.
Sighting these wonderful new products in the catalog, I immediately spoke to Dean Redtape of the Office for Making Loads and Loads of Money (OMLLM) about the new marketing ideas the Institute has for the MIT logo. The dean was thrilled to see me and was happy to discuss new ideas MIT wanted to have in the stores just in time for the holiday shopping season.
"C'mon in!" the dean blustered at me, adjusting his toupee. "Have I got some products to show you!"
He pulled a box full of MIT logo products from under his desk, huffing and puffing to do so. He held up the first item. "Aha!" he said triumphantly. "Here's one we think will be a big seller. The MIT toilet seat!"
I looked at him quizzically. "Why would anyone want an MIT toilet seat?" I asked him.
"Simple," he replied, "now you can do on MIT what MIT always does on you!"
I groaned but vowed to continue listening. "What else do you have in there?"
"Well, I personally love this one." He held up a dartboard covered with applicants' names. "It's an actual replica of the methods used by the admissions staff to determine who gets in."
I looked at him blankly.
"It's a joke, son," he told me gravely.
"Oh," I replied, forcing a laugh.
"We also," he continued, "are going to try marketing products based on organizations at MIT. Try, for example, these "LSC Movie Projector" condoms. As soon as you get to the best part, the condom breaks."
"That's great, sir. What else?"
"How about these?" he said as he fished something out of the box. "Course 6 Underwear for Men. These are just amazing. You see," he said, pointing to the elastic of the underwear, "there's a simple circuit built into these which lights up these LED's here in the band."
"What's so great about that?" I asked.
"Well, there's a switch built into the crotch, so that the circuit only gets turned on when you do! Ha, Ha, Ha!" He continued to laugh until he saw me staring at him; then he stopped laughing, and continued.
"How about this?" He pulled out a book titled Social Lives of MIT Students. "We figure customers can use it to take notes in," he said, thumbing through the empty pages.
I shook my head. "Wait," he continued, "I've got more." He showed me what appeared to be a huge red ball. "Look at this."
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's MIT's latest contribution to birthday-party games. The newest version of the pinata. You hang it up; then you give each child a knife, and in turn they try to cut it open and get at a prize in the middle, such as a drop card."
"Sounds violent," I said. "What's it covered with?"
"It's covered in red tape. We call it the MIT Registrar's Bureaucracy Ball."
I started to leave, but the dean pushed me back into my seat. "Wait, maybe you'll like this one." He pulled out a Paul Gray inflatable doll.
I wrinkled my nose in disgust. "What sort of customer buys that?" I asked.
He looked at it. "Oh -- um, that's not for sale. That's mine." He quickly stuffed it back in the box.
"Well, dean, this has been quite interesting, but I have to hurry off to recitation now. God knows I would hate to miss a recitation. Do you have one last new MIT item to show me?"
"How about this," he said, pulling out a box full of vials and bottles. "This is one for the kiddies. It's the Alternative News Collective Chemistry Set."
"You mean a chemistry kit named after the group that publishes The Thistle?" He nodded yes. "What does it do?"
"It's simple. No matter what you do with the contents, they over-react violently."
Bill Jackson '93 is dreaming of a cardinal-red and steel-grey Christmas.