I was thrilled to receive a very wide variety of odd products in response to my last post asking you to name the oddest mainstream commercial product ever invented, and was even more thrilled that every single response named something that is at least as odd as clamato juice (which is what I said is the oddest product), so well done. In light of this, I was going to just put the entries into categories without actually choosing a winner, but I figured that would be a bit Mr. Rogers of me, and in any case once I thought it over I realized there was a clear winner after all. But really you're all winners so no need to get upset.
The entries were as follows:
Disgusting Meat Products
Cheeseburger in a can and Hákarl, which is apparently some kind of smelly fermented shark that they like to eat in Iceland, were the entries in this category. As was pointed out to me, clamato juice is mainstream only in Canada, so if this shark thing is mainstream only in Iceland, fair enough. As for the cheeseburger in a can, I am not sure how mainstream that actually is, but if you told me it's what they use at McDonald's I'd believe you.
Push-up underwear, Snuggies, and Pajama Jeans were the entries in this category. While I concur that push-up underwear (intended to make your butt look bigger) is certainly as odd as clamato juice, I am not sure it is any odder than a Wonderbra, which is significantly more mainstream.
For those who do not know, Snuggies are blankets with sleeves and Pajama Jeans are pants that look like jeans but feel like pajamas. I guess both are odd, but let's be honest, they are also both amazing ideas. In fact, I'm going to invent the Pajama Business Suit. If you do it first I'll kill you.
Weird TV Shows
Teletubbies and reality shows where brides compete over who has the best wedding were the entries here. As to the latter, I guess it's a little weird but not really any weirder than watching the royal wedding on TV, which is not essentially all that different though it seems classier. As to the former, it's true that a kids' show about different-coloured aliens who speak in baby talk and have televisions in their stomachs is odd, but it's not really odder than most other kids' shows, like Barney or Bananas in Pajamas. Or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Actually, a show about giant turtles who fight bad guys, eat pizza, get taught ninja moves by a rat, and are named after Renaissance artists sounds pretty weird if you think about it.
Just Plain Odd
Silly putty, bottled water, and mustard (because of its curious dual ability to spice up one's burger and kill one's foe) were the entries in this category. Silly putty and bottled water are both entirely pointless though quite mainstream, and mustard has utterly unique chemical properties. So yes, all odd.
Too Random To Go In Any Other Category
Ashley Madison, God, and a book called How to Avoid Huge Ships were the entries here. The first entry is a website that exists in order to assist people in cheating on their spouses. Odd? The side of me that is cynical says no; the side of me that is anti-things-that-are-cynical says I hope so.
As for the second entry, the aforementioned two sides of me were duelling over whether it should win, with the latter finally overtaking the former. But I have to admit it gave me pause.
The third is definitely odd, but I can't say I've ever heard of it before, which is kind of the method I'm using to measure whether or not something is a mainstream commercial product. Not terribly scientific, I know.
And the Winner
is dairy products of all types, but specifically yogurt, which were two separate entries. It was pointed out that we would all consider it utterly creepy to drink human milk into adulthood, yet we don't bat an eye at drinking the milk of another species. I have to agree that is pretty darn odd, particularly in light of the fact that unlike meat eating, I believe this is not very commonly done in nature, and milk has the benefit of being nothing if not a mainstream commercial product.
As for yogurt, I just read in this cookbook I have called The Ottoman Kitchen that it was probably invented by an ancient shepherd or something who was carrying around milk in a sheepskin bag all day. When he looked at it he realized it was all chunky and nasty since the bacteria from the sheepskin had combined with the milk but he decided to drink it anyway (weird) and was like, "Mm, tangy and delicious!" Naturally, it is now one of the most mainstream food products in almost every country in the world.
We're all weirdos, guys.