How My Amazon Search History Is Ruining My Life*

*Maybe not “ruining my life.” More like “slightly inconveniencing me” but that just doesn’t have the same clickbait feel to it. 

I really like satire. It’s my favorite style of writing and if I could, I’d write everything with a  satirical tone: research papers, resumes, Instagram blurbs, thank you notes, graduate school applications, etc. For practical reasons, of course I don’t, but sometimes I still like to ponder the possibilities…

Since I had a fun time writing my Thanksgiving post , I wanted to write a similar post about Amazon Christmas gift ideas. The post was supposed to be my ode to funny Amazon reviews and perhaps even a light critique on our American consumer culture (because who really needs a banana slicer?). Unfortunately, this is NOT that post. No, today I’m writing about how my blog post idea totally backfired on me, and instead, I’m left with a questionable search history and a sea of algorithms fighting to continually remind me that I’m weird. Here’s a meta look at my writing process, the unexpected places writing can take you, and proof that those “unexpected places” are more often than not, looking at strange things on the internet.

If I could blame this on anyone, I’d blame the people at Haribo and their sugar free gummy bears. Thanks to their sugar substitute that secretly doubles as a laxative, millions of people are now confined to their bathrooms while the rest of us laugh at their Amazon reviews and misery. Thanks to Haribo, the world beheld Christine E. Torok’s amazing Amazon review:

“…not long after eating about 20 of these all hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I’ve ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I’ve had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me.

Then came the, uh, flatulence. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the sounds, like trumpets calling the demons back to Hell…the stench, like 1,000 rotten corpses vomited. I couldn’t stand to stay in one room for fear of succumbing to my own odors.”

If you haven’t done so already, GO READ THE FULL REVIEW. It’s truly a lovely little piece of writing, which inspired me to become a better writer. Yeah I know I should be inspired by people like Dickens or Tolkien, but then I remember that Torok was the one who introduced me to the world of Amazon reviews. One has to give credit where credit is due.

Obviously, I’m not the first person who’s noticed the comedic brilliance of these reviews. Amazon wrote an article on it (twice). Maria Popova wrote on “The Art of the Humorous Amazon Review” (also twice). George Takei joined in on the fun too, writing several reviews of his own a few years ago. My personal favorite is his review on Canned Unicorn Meat:

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Actually, a lot of people have compiled collections of funny Amazon reviews. If you don’t believe me, just do a quick Google search. See? Thus, I faced a conundrum that many college students and writers are all too familiar with: how do you write an essay on a certain topic when it feels like everyone has already said all there is to say about it? How can you contribute anything original to the conversation?

Such thinking zapped any inspiration I might have had concerning writing a holiday-themed post on Amazon reviews. I just couldn’t think of anything clever to say about yodeling pickles that hasn’t already been said before, but that didn’t stop me from reading through the many, many reviews out there. And that’s the thing about the internet. You click on one thing, and that leads to this other thing, and before you know it you’ve read all about this new thing that you didn’t know existed in the first place. That’s probably how you ended up on this blog anyway.

Well, back to my earlier question: how does anyone ever write anything new? For this particular topic, I decided “Eh, whatever. I just won’t.” And moved on with my life.

Or at least I though I did until…. Until I logged on to Facebook and saw this!

Then, I went back on my Amazon account…

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-22-13-amscreen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-25-03-amscreen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-26-04-am

….NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Now everywhere I go online, my search history conspicuously trails behind me like an unwanted companion. Ads seem to mock me at every turn. I’m continually reminded that at one point in my life, I chose to read about Stew Clyde’s review of Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner (actually that one was pretty funny). I know I can clear my search history and I would, except that a part of me likes to think that some mystery hacker out there, who’s been tracking my search history, is now working tirelessly attempting to understand why I was reading about inflatable toast.

Probably not, but it’s worth the shot.

So dear readers, you’ve reached the end of my post. Maybe this wasn’t what you were expecting, maybe (dare I say it?!) you’re even a little disappointed. However, I sincerely hope you clicked on every hyperlink above because then we would share the same search history. Think of it as my strange way of spreading Christmas cheer. 

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