Friday, November 30, 2007

Wobble Wedges®

If one of us in the “Thursday Night Martini Gang” has jammed a book of matches or a wad of napkins under our cast-iron table at Mo Mong once these past 10 years, we’ve done it a hundred times. With the passing of matchbooks, leveling an awkward table became more of an annoyance.

Shift scene: a pub in the Brookhaven section of Atlanta, where four of us had just sat down for a couple of pints and burgers…a pleasant patio lunch on a beautiful day. And the table wobbled. Teeter. Totter. Teeter. Totter. While I was looking around for a napkin to wad up, the ever-resourceful Edith Fusillo reached into her purse and pulled out a small white plastic shim. She lifted the table slightly and shoved this thing under the leg. No more teeter-totter.

“It’s a Wobble Wedge,” she proclaimed and she and Bob beamed at us. “Every table in Venice wobbles. I found these at The Container Store and we always carry them with us.”

Sheesh! Of the hundred or thousands of useless knickknacks and gadgets in the various catalogs of the world, here are these Wobble Wedges – complete with registered trademark. So the first thing we do is go off to the nearby Container Store and pick up a couple of packages. Barbara stashed hers in various compartments of her purse. I stowed mine in…well…my man-bag. Map case. Alright, dammit, my purse.

This is word-of-mouth marketing in action. Only after I got back here to the home computer have I gone to the website; you can read all about Wobble Wedges, “the tapered plastic shims that do it all.” You should look at this site: simple, homegrown, but with all the information you’d need to realize why this is one of the world’s great inventions.

And it’s only a million or so years old. Stone Age (though I’m told that the Association of Social Anthropologists is not happy with this term). After all, the reason we’ve used matchbooks to level the damn table is because they’re wedge-shaped.

Our modern, purse-carried Wobble Wedges are made of polypropylene, tapered at a 5.75° angle with some extra features like nesting ridge teeth that make it adjustable – and so awfully handy. The Wobble Wedge is patented and manufactured by Focus 12, Inc.; conveniently packaged; it even comes with a small hole so you can tie a string to it. “Everyone needs Wobble Wedges ‘cause the world isn’t flat.” Nice line.

The only problem: you tend to forget about the Wobble Wedge when you leave the restaurant. Edith says she and Bob left dozens of them in restaurants all over Venice (the paving and flooring are so out of true, you see). Still, they’re cheap enough, three bucks per six-pack. You can get ‘em in jars of 300 in case you’re truly into leveling.

So this today’s WOM contribution: Wobble Wedges. Pass it on.

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