A Tube for the Times
Sure, you can still buy lots of other fun products at Archie McPhee's, but none so perfect for the times as the Tube of Gloom. Hailed by Wired magazine as one of the top 10 toys of 1994, it can sadly no longer be had.
As a reporter, I was especially glad to have mine around on Election Night, when each of us in the newsroom had to wrest results from a half-dozen municipal clerks. This involved about a million callbacks. Sometimes a clerk would just go home before the final callback , leaving us at the mercy of a wrathful editor. We also had to start work at 3 p.m., but sometimes did not wring out the last tally until after midnight.
With one hand on the touch-tone pad, I could still tilt the Tube of Gloom in the other hand to call forth its moans of agony.
"Call back in five minutes," a clerk would advise for the tenth time.
A lot of us kept toys at hand to relieve tension. One editor even had a Boxing Nun and another shot Nerf projectiles around the newsroom. Call it "going journalistic."
I just thought the way things are going over on Watchung Avenue, a Tube of Gloom would be the ideal accoutrement to a yellow legal pad and an ill-gotten Mont Blanc pen in executive session.
Oh well, I guess they will just have to stock up on bubble wrap and, like another editor, pop the bubbles all day to settle their nerves.
Have courage, folks. Just keep saying, like the popularity of the Tube of Gloom, "This too shall pass."