The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts April 21, 2006

Wanton Distraction
By Matt Goldberg

Take My Breath Away. Please.

A company known as Ogo is currently selling bottled oxygen. Various news organizations reporting on this odd product have likened it to bottled water, pointing out how that seemed like a dumb idea, too, but now goes for more than a dollar a bottle.

If hearing a story about bottled oxygen didn’t immediately make you think of Mel Brooks’s 1987 sci-fi spoof Spaceballs, chances are you haven’t seen Spaceballs. For you unhappy few, here’s what you need to know: The bad guys are running out of air and decide to steal it from a peaceful neighboring planet. At one point, President Skroob, the leader of the bad guys, sneaks a can of Perri-Air. It’s played for comedy, not product placement (you know, in case that wasn’t clear).

What’s also fun about this new bottled oxygen is that it’s “flavored.” That’s right, you don’t have to breathe any old flavorless air, you can buy a can that has the smell of cherries or peppermints! It would be just like smelling real cherries and peppermints. Finally, we can now buy air — air that smells of rare items, long lost to the sands of time. (Sands of Time-flavored air coming soon!)

There are two big reasons as to why this will not work. First, it’s one thing to break out a bottle of water. Bottled water followed in the footsteps of other bottled drinks, so it wasn’t that weird to see someone drink a liquid out of a bottle. Even beverages that come from such appetizing containers as boxes and breasts can’t compete.

But if you break out your can of bottled oxygen and start sniffing it, you might as well have the title “Stupid Douchebag” tattooed on your forehead. (It’s the next big thing!) Also, chances are that if you can afford to throw money away on air, your air is good enough already.

Second, water is common but not always available. When people are crawling through the desert and crying “Water...water...” instead of “Air... air...preferably which smells like lemons...” it’s because one is readily available and the other isn’t (Lemony air at participating deserts only; void where prohibited). When are you going to thirst for air like you thirst for water? Is someone going to be choking the life out of you when you reach for your Eucalyptus Euphoria Air and thwart their plans?

Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea to casually carry around items that could explode.

Say you’re out with some friends and you decide to try their Tutti-Fruity Berry Breather. But there’s a fumble, the can slams into the ground, and now you don’t have a foot. What then? “Well, I now have the nickname Woodfoot, but it was totally worth it. Normal air is dead to me now that I’ve breathed deep the scented-oxidized goodness of bottled air. I pity people who walk around, breathing their free, non-scented air that doesn’t even come in a shiny canister! Now I must shuffle off to get a tattoo on my forehead.”

So no, bottled air is not the next bottled water. Bottled air is the next pet rock.


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