Only a few weeks ago, I wrote a particularly hilarious column considering the greatest inventions of all-time and within hours I was receiving literally dozens of e-mails informing me of better inventions that I should’ve chosen. I got various suggestions of the gasoline-powered engine, bacon, and even the common pencil – all of which are actually great ideas, mind you – and I soon contemplated the concept of a sequel to said column, featuring another batch of great inventions. But then I had an even better idea…

Sure, we’ve had a whole slew of fantastic creations throughout the years, but with every good idea likewise comes another three bad ideas and, being the perpetual down-looker that I am, I thought that it would be a good idea to give some of these bad ideas an equal amount of attention…besides, it oughta be a lot more fun anyways! The following list may not necessarily be the worst inventions of all-time, but of all the ones I was able to think of at the moment, these are most definitely the top ten, so without further a due…

10. The Grocery Store Express Lane

Although good in theory, these things never actually end up working because the majority of grocery store patrons these days are complete morons. You would think that by the time one reaches the age of shopping for food by his or herself, they’d be quite able to physically count the number of items which they would like to purchase and thus choose their checkout lane appropriately.

Nevertheless, it seems whenever I find myself running to the store to pick-up milk, and just milk, the lanes normally designated for folks such as myself are so clogged with housewives pushing cartloads of groceries that I’ve either got to steal the milk or come to terms with the fact that I’ll be missing The Simpsons again because I spent half the evening at the grocery store…

9. The Digital Time Clock

Sneaking into work late used to be easy, what with those archaic punch cards and their barely legible purple stamps – half the time we ended up writing in the times anyways – but not anymore. Now, thanks to modern science, our employers know exactly to the second when we punch-in, punch-out, and so on…and man, I’ll tell you – there’s only so many times you can simply “forget to swipe your card” before they tend to raise eyebrows.

I’m still convinced that we’re eventually going to see this process taken a step further and find time clocks installed in the bathrooms themselves. Swipe to wipe and you’re on your way, and it didn’t cost your boss a dime because he knows that it took you exactly six minutes and thirty-four seconds to make that transaction!

8. Telemarketing

“Whoever came up with the concept of telemarketing should be drug out into the street and shot…”

And I couldn’t agree more! I have never, ever bought a single thing from a telemarketer, nor do I even know anybody who has, so the whole mission is really a horrendous waste of everyone’s time, if you ask me. Maybe if they were to take all of the money that they’ve blown on call centers and telephone charges and even the demons themselves and actually invested it into making their products that much better, then we all wouldn’t hate them nearly as much as we do now! They’d make tons of money, I’d get to enjoy my dinner, and we’d all live happily ever after…

7. Ballet

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I hate ballet, it’s just that I’m a guy and I really hate ballet! Sure, the tight outfits may be enough to pacify me for fifteen minutes or so, but after that all of the prancing and swaying and dipping just get to be too much. There are some things in life that men are never going to like and there are some things in life that women are never going to like – you don’t seem to care for monster truck rallies or having sex on a weeknight and I’m against all cooking, cleaning, and ballet – live with it!

6. The Wooden Ruler

My whole body still hurts just thinking about this thing! Now don’t get me wrong – I tried to behave myself throughout childhood as best as I could and when I did occasionally mess up, I probably deserved the punishment, but have you ever been hit with one of these things?! Almost as bad as the spoon, only without the extra weight, yet these babies sure packed quite the wallop…

Did it actually stop me from misbehaving? Well, not really, so maybe violence really isn’t the answer, eh?

5. Commercial Breaks

Whenever the plot finally starts getting interesting, it’s time to break for commercials. Whenever the news tells me that my local weather will be up shortly, it’s time to break for commercials. Whenever I actually know the answer to the Final Jeopardy question and simply cannot wait another three minutes to affirm this knowledge, it’s time to break for commercials. Now I understand that these advertisements are necessary to keep the television big-wigs livin’ large out in Hollywood and I really don’t have a problem with that, but the placement has just got to change! Maybe put five minutes of commercials before and after each show and let them run uninterrupted, or place even more of them between each and every guest on Oprah – it seems like those folks are going to watch just about anything anyways, so there shouldn’t be any audience loss that way.

All I’m saying is that when I’ve already got myself emotionally invested in Survivor, I don’t want to wait through two SUVs and a tampon commercial to find out who’s getting voted out, got it?!

4. Denny’s

I actually like to consider myself quite the open-minded individual, but when it comes to eating establishments, I don’t expect to see rats running around, serving drinks, etc… unless we happen to be in a Muppet movie. Granted, it’s kind of a contradiction in and of itself, seeing as I can’t see how even a rat would be able to stomach the food at this place, but I suppose that desperate times call for desperate measures…

I’m sure that there are a few people in this world who will voluntarily eat at Denny’s, and as scary as it sounds, there might even be one or two that actually enjoy the food. *shudder* For the rest of us, though, it’s always important to remember that no matter how hungry we are, if we find ourselves in a town where the only restaurant is a Denny’s, it’s time to get back on the road and continue the search elsewhere in more civilized areas!

3. The Wonderbra

It’s really no secret by now – women are extremely good at manipulating and deceiving us guys into getting just about anything they could ever want, but this is finally taking it too far! There used to be a time when only the hot chicks were able to wield such powers, but then some idiot scientist came along and decided that all women should be able to look pretty and it basically went to hell from then on out! For the most part, we didn’t mind shoveling your driveways or cutting the lawn or fixing your cars because it was quite clear from the get-go what our prize was, if you will…but now, unless our goal is a handful of foam padding and an innocent smile, we’re just shit outta luck…

2. The Radar Gun

You know how it goes – you’re speeding along at a technically hazardous rate, just hoping to get to Disney World before the line for Space Mountain leads all the way out into the parking lot, and then you see him. Typically hiding on the opposite side of an overpass or on-ramp, this is the cop who does nothing but catch speeders on the freeway all day long. Within only a few seconds, he’s radioed your description up to one of his buddies a few miles down the road and the ticket’s already filled out before he even pulls you over. Sure, it’s efficient, but damn!

I liked it better when they simply had to guess how fast you were going because then at least you had a chance to dispute the matter in court. Usually the cop would’ve ever bother showing up anyways, so most of the time we got off easy, but now he can just forward along a copy of the radar reading and you’re as good as toast…

1. The Alarm Clock

Yes, the crème de la crème, the worst of the worst, the very bane of my weekday life – having to get up in the morning. Some say that excessive sleeping is wasting your life away, but you know what? I’m content with that, so ha! Everybody relaxes in their own way, whether it be by hiking, playing with their children, or in my own case, doing absolutely nothing…but that all changes when that infernal alarm goes off at three hundred or so decibels, alerting me that morning has indeed come once again.

I don’t really mind getting up, but if it could be around, say noon or so, it would just be much easier for me to deal with!