I’ve really been struggling with this question myself. When they first came out, I was convinced there was no role for the iPad in my armamentarium of electronic devices. It won’t replace my laptop on business travel and it’s too big to replace my iPod or Blackberry. I assumed this would be the general consensus and the much ballyhooed device would flop. Finally, Apple would have a product failure. My cousin, Dan, with his disdain for big companies, could rally around Apple’s demise. But, to my surprise, I started observing business colleagues, otherwise professional people, popping these devices out during board meetings (I noticed they were mostly playing Super Mario Brothers).
So, I began challenging my assumptions, thinking that perhaps Apple had created yet another must-have device. I started thinking perhaps I should get one, just to be certain I didn’t fall behind the electronic device curve.
Then, something fortuitous happened. We have friends visiting from out of town this weekend and their daughter (age 13) had just gotten a brand spanking new iPad for her Bat Mitzvah. She left early this morning to do something with her family and left my daughter to be the guardian of her iPad for the day.
Just moments ago, I was sipping coffee from my Keurig single cup coffee maker (I will not often advertise products in this blog, certainly not Apple products, but if you’re a coffee drinker and don’t own a Keurig, you’re really missing something) in the kitchen and my daughter was busy on her friend’s iPad. One of my friends told me recently that his wife made him buy one iPad each for his three kids (all under 6) because they are so “educational.” So, I assumed my daughter was probably learning a new foreign language or brushing up on particle physics on it this morning. But, suddenly she started clawing at the screen frantically with her hands. I mean really going at it, like a cat furiously trying to sharpen its claws on a tree. I thought she was losing her mind so I asked her what in the heck she was doing. What educational app was she using? I thought maybe there was a physical fitness app on the device – wow, that could actually be a good thing.
“It’s an app, dad,” she intoned.
“Uh, OK, an app for what?”
“To see how fast you can unroll an entire roll of toilet paper.”
My world literally stopped. In fact, I’m pretty sure the entire planet earth, for that brief moment, stopped spinning on its axis, and came perilously close to being sucked into some big vortex in the galaxy.
“What did you say?” I asked timidly.
“It’s an app to see how fast you can unroll a roll of toilet paper.”
OK, my ears were working because that’s exactly what I had heard the first time. Only this time she brought the device over and showed me. Sure enough, there’s a full roll of toilet paper on the screen and a stop watch to time how fast you can unroll it.
I’ve now officially seen it all in the electronic world. A $700 electronic device to see how fast you can unroll toilet paper. To all my business colleagues with iPads – be honest – is this why you bought yours? Call me old fashion, but when I want to know how proficient I am at that skill, I’m heading into the bathroom. Please follow me in with a stopwatch.
So, I put my coffee mug down and went to the liquor cabinet for a scotch. I don’t usually drink scotch at 8:30 AM, but this sequence of events called for it. As the warm liquor calmed my nerves, I started to think more rationally and went back to my daughter timidly and asked her, “so how’d you do?” I realized that her days of being the star of the basketball team might soon give way to other, more modern, athletic events. Yeah, it suddenly started to make more sense. Why the hell run around a silly block of wood trying to put a round ball through a wire rim. It’s really quite archaic when you think about it. I realized, sitting there in my kitchen this morning, buzzing from the Keurig coffee and the 18 year old scotch, that the future of competitive sports was right there in front of me. Competitive electronic toilet paper unrolling.
So, I asked her again, “how did you do? How quickly did you unroll it? More important, whose time was better, yours or your friends’? She showed me the “top scores list” and I’ve never been prouder than I was at that moment. You go girl.