Rants in the Pants, Episode 18- Useless Inventions #1

Some inventions are quite handy. Take electric toothbrushes, for instance. I used to think they were just for lazy people, but my dentist assures me that they do a far better job than the manual ones. Since I always brush my teeth first thing after arising from my slumber, I have found electric toothbrushes are great because I don’t have to wake up before I’ve had my coffee. Hats off to the inventor of the refrigerator. Love it to keep my beer cold! And a special mention to whoever invented the twist off top and the pull tab that makes it easy to open my beer without having to search for the opener, formerly known as the church key.

Cars have gone through a great metamorphosis over the years with many improvements having been made by inventors interested in our comfort and safety. The turn signal keeps you from having to hang your arm out the window and possibly get it stung by a bee or broken by someone’s extended sideview mirror. Unfortunately, there are many drivers who don’t use this gadget due to the fact that their arms are broken, from what we don’t know. Certainly not hanging them out the window to signal. Cup holders give you a place for your drink, so you don’t spill it and ruin your interior. Power brakes bring you to a safe stop, but only if you use them.

I could go on about the wondrous inventions that have made our cars safer and more comfortable, but I want to focus on one item that should have been left on the drawing board: car alarms. It’s understandable that no one wants their vehicle stolen. It’s also a known fact that thousands of cars are stolen every year in the US. The invention of the car alarm has not affected this statistic one bit. Instead, it has become an irritation to the peace and quiet of a neighborhood. At least once a week in my neighborhood, a car alarm goes off beep, beep, beeping for several minutes or more before the owner finds the key fob and turns the darn thing off.

What causes the alarm to sound? A cat jumping on the hood. A key fob in someone’s pocket that gets pushed as they shift position. A slight gust of wind that shakes the car a bit. Who the hell knows what else? Certainly not someone trying to steal your car. How many car thefts do you personally know of that were stopped by a car alarm? Now let’s juxtapose that statistic against the times you had to listen to one going off, sometimes for such a long time you still hear the dang thing beeping in your head after it’s turned off.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty on this. Why were they invented in the first place? Lots of cars stolen and this could prevent that? No. Absolutely, no. They were invented to make someone money. Each year they add more features to cars and each year the price goes up. If cars did not have alarms, they would be cheaper. Admittedly, incrementally so, but cheaper, nonetheless.

You folks chew on this while I go out to my workshop. I’m busy inventing an uncollapsable paper straw. When I succeed, I’m taking it to California. Gavin and his crowd will be so happy I might get the Director of Environmental Affairs position. By the way, if you have any useless inventions you would like to suggest, please leave a note in the comments section.


  1. Paul D on February 21, 2024 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for visiting one of my pet peeve inventions, Ira: the car alarm.

    • Ira White on February 22, 2024 at 7:14 am

      You are welcome. They bug the hell out of me too. Three nights ago one went off at 9:30 and they didn’t get to it for several minutes. Can’t sleep with that racket!

  2. george winter alias discjorge on February 21, 2024 at 5:33 pm

    oh well not bad at all however its just a complaint, i and others like it because we have similar complaints. do we really think we can pile up and bundles our complaints someone we read them to congress and the dmeos and repubs will do something about it???

    • Ira White on February 21, 2024 at 6:47 pm

      These pieces are written to add a little humor as well as maybe, just maybe, enlighten someone who would not see the light any other way. It’s also for me to blow off a little steam from having to deal with the dystopia we are confronted with on a daily basis.

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