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DAVIS: The perils and perks of Captain Obvious

March 12, 2012

A great many words have been used to describe people who have various traits. Smart people are described as nerds, geeks or brainiacs. People with various levels of cleanliness skills are called anything from slobs to bums to clean freaks. No matter how we label others, sometimes those very labels come back to bite us in a spot known as the rear, tush or fanny. No matter what you call it, the pain is the same.
One label that gained popularity with people who know me is the name "Captain Obvious." Some of you may be aware of this term and some may not. In order to provide clarification, Captain Obvious is defined as "a sarcastic name for someone who states the obvious." It is not a term for which congratulations or praise is given. For example, a sure sign that you are in the presence of a practicing Captain Obvious is when you notice a person looking through a window at a thunderstorm and this person says to you "Looks like it's going to rain today."
Here are a few more examples so that you may recognize a CO when you see one.
You are driving down the road and everyone smells a foul odor and begins to cover their noses. If someone in the car says "I smell a skunk!", turn to that person and say "Thanks, Captain Obvious."
You are at a football game and your team is behind by 21 points with thirty seconds left to play. Someone next to you says, "Well, looks like we are going to lose this one." Captain Obvious is in the house!
Example after example could be listed here but the general notion of "Captain Obviousness" is clear. At least I hope so.
However, this endearing trait is not the sole characteristic of a true Captain Obvious.
The other sign of infection is the ability of this particular person to see what is right in front of them in perspectives not glaringly apparent to others.
Classics signs of the affliction are easy to spot. Shopping is a major distraction for any CO. It's like wandering in the wilderness with a raccoon. Shiny objects grab the attention and hold it like dog with a chew toy. Someone has to grasp firmly and pull to break the concentration being expended.
I must confess, I am a Captain Obvious of the highest magnitude. I do not shy away from it, I embrace it!
The other day I was with my wife Laura, our son Scott and soon to be daughter-in-law Amanda at Bed, Bath & Beyond. A word of advice for anyone living with a CO, don't take them to this store. Here's why.
Scott and Amanda were there to set up their bridal registry. They are to be married this September. I had the opportunity to roam the entire store unsupervised. Here is what I found.
Did you know that someone at the company that makes Pez and the associated Pez dispensers had the idea to make a special collectors edition box set of 'Lord of the Rings' dispensers? Not only did the minds at Pez decide to do this magical set but they paid attention to such detail as making the Gandolf dispenser taller than the Bilbo Baggins and Frodo dispensers. Imagine the brainstorming session! What other ideas were rejected? The Laverne & Shirley set? The entire Happy Days gang? Any president and his cabinet? What about the 'Famous Steroid Users' set that could have an extra strong spring to eject the candy? Was the vote unanimous for Lord of the Rings? I'd like to see the transcripts.
I continued to wander the aisles. I passed the new Sobakawa pillow, the Ped Egg and the rubber gloves that protect your hands when you pull hot pots from the oven. While each deserved the attention of a true CO, a shiny flash hit the corner of my eye. I had to see what it was.
There before me was a stack of aerosol cans. I had seen the product before on television. I imagined the boat with the screen door attached to the hull. I marveled at how the boat floated anyway. I watched as the spokesperson rowed this freakish boat around a pond.
If you know what product I'm talking about right now, you might be a CO.
For those not enlightened to this incredible advance in aerosol rubber sealant, the product is called FlexSeal.
I looked at the stack of cans in all their glory. But wait, there's more.
Perched atop the tower of scientific marvel was a colander that had been sprayed with FlexSeal. I grabbed it. I searched the store to find Laura. She needed to see this testimony to modern ingenuity. I showed it to her, eyes wide with excitement. She took one look at it. Then looked at me. I saw her head give a nearly imperceptible shake accompanied by the "DA" look I had seen so many times in the past. She knew I was in "little boy" mode. Just like a kid on the cereal aisle, I had to have a can. "Ok", she said. I took the colander back to its place on the throne of gadgetry to await the next "little boy" to come through the front door.
The next day, I thought about that display. It struck me as curious that it was located in such a location as to be seen the very first thing as shoppers entered the store. Could it be that the good people at Bed Bath & Beyond had a meeting, realized that men are not the primary target market for their stores and placed FlexSeal at that perfect location to catch all the other "little boys" who are basically there as pack mules for their spouses? And do wives know that getting this small can of aerosol rubber sealer would keep the boys occupied while other more expensive items were tossed into the basket?
I decided not to pose these questions to Laura. The light bulb had come on over my head. Captain Obvious had struck again, in a massive time-released dose.

Brent Davis is the managing editor of the Saline Courier.

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