Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Santa: All I want is a Fizz-Nik

What’s the dumbest holiday gift you’ve ever received? Mine was a Fizz-nik. And understand, I really WANTED this thing. In my dumb kid-ness I thought this was the coolest invention EVER.

It was a plastic straw with a big bubble in the middle. This was actually two half spheres that twisted together with straws on either end. You put a scoop of ice cream in the bubble and twisted it shut. Then you jammed one end into a bottle of root beer. That was it. Voila! Instant root beer float!

You would take a swig and (in theory) the root beer would mix with the ice cream and by the time it reached your mouth you were in soda fountain heaven. And the best part – no muss nor fuss.

Except for one thing…

It never worked. To mix the two elements you had to hold the bottle at almost a 90 degree angle and crane your neck way back. Not exactly ideal.

And then there was this tiny flaw – there was no way to stop the rushing ice cream float as it hurtled its way to your mouth. What a mess. Within a week my mother had confiscated my beloved Fizz-Nik.

Let’s just say that as a result of the Fizz-nik I have more empathy for hookers.

Hope you get what YOU want this holiday season.

Still time to vote for your favorite Daffy Definition. Santa will be pissed if you don't. Here's where you go. Thanks.


Eric Curtis said...

The company I used to work for gave me and everyone else luggage one Christmas. It was very nice luggage, but the problem was, they were laying myself and about 100 other workers off at the first of the year. We used it to clean out our desks.

And socks. My one Grandmother always got me a six-pack of tube socks each Christmas. You'd think she would have tossed in some tighty-whiteys at least one year.

Joe said...

The Fizz-Nik sounds like an ideal device for the training dept. at the Mustang Ranch.

Shemp said...

My aunt and uncle knew that I was studying to be an accountant in college, so one year they gave me a roll of toilet paper with imprints of US currency on it.

Susan said...

Ken, thank you so much for my early Christmas present. I don't know why that line struck me as so extremely amusing, but it did. I REALLY needed a laugh like that, so thank you. I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and wish you all the very best for a Happy New Year!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Remember Flav-R-Straws? A soda straw with a strip of what looked like felt inside that was impregnated with either chocolate or strawberry flavoring. Theoretically, when you drank your milk it would combine with the flavoring to make instant chocolate or strawberry milk. It worked, but not well. The amount of flavoring was so weak as to be more of a hint than a taste.

Dave said...

Not only do I still have my Fizz-Nik, it's never failed me, so I don't know what kind of a second-hand reject you got.

What would I like for Christmas? The return of root beer-flavored Kool-Aid, Fizzies, Bosco, and Taylor Ham.

D. McEwan said...

My God, Fizz-Niks! Was that 1962?

I remember mine. I never liked root beer, but I remember one summer (I'm fairly certain it was 1962) spent dumping scoops of vanilla ice cream into the spherical center, and then jamming that red plastic Fizz-Nik into the necks of bottles of Bubble-Up. (Wait a minute! Remember Bubble-Up? Same exact drink as 7-Up, but a different company, and came in 16-ounce bottles, as opposed to the 12-ounce bottles of 7-Up.)

I don't recall it being a disaster, unless you didn't snap the two hemispheres back together tightly enough, and it came apart while upside down, and you got a face, and a carpet, full of ice cream and Bubble-Up. I just remember it quickly becoming pointless. When you thought about it, what was the obstical to dumping a scoop of ice cream into a glass of Bubble-Up? None whatever.

As for Flava-Straws, I remember them being around longer, but I have no idea why. The flavors were TERRIBLE! The chocolate particularly, was bitter, like they left out the sugar. Also, the little sponge with the flavor clogged the straw, so you had to suck your brains out to get any milk past the flavorful obstruction, and then, when you did, it tasted like crap. It wasn't long before I found more rewarding things to suck.

In the immortal words of Alfred E. Neuman: Bleah!

A very merry annual Christian Cultural Incursion to all, and to all a good night.

For Tallulah's Holiday wishes, click over to her blog, after your Daffy Definition votes that is.

WV: gyntions: Tallualh's favorite exercize.

Anea said...

It's funny to read your comments on the Fizz-Nik, I have never seen one but have heard about them from my father, author Burl Barer, since I was a kid. I am sure that his regular summer references to both the Fizz-nik the "Happy Fizzies Party" (soda flavored alka-seltzer type things that made water taste and feel like soda) had, at least partly, to do with his background in advertising and his love of old ad campaigns. They both always sounded like a neat ideas to me :). If I found either I would buy them for laughs if nothing else.

Mike Bell said...

Good grief! I remember the Fizz-nik. In fact, I also had one. But the really weird thing that I wanted from back then was this thing called the "Six Finger."

Six Finger came out during the James Bond/Man From Uncle mania in the early 60s. It was a realistic looking finger that fit between your thumb and forefinger. It had all sorts of attachments like darts and pens and flashlights. Every kid in my neighborhood had one. Except me.

At the time we lived in a pretty diverse neighborhood, and by the time I finally wore down my parents to get me a Six Finger the only ones left on the shelf were for African American kids. I didn't care. My parents, being of a certain era, didn't understand. But they loved me and bought it for me anyway.

So for an entire summer I ran around the neighborhood as America's first multi ethnic kid spy.

Bakersfield was still kind of a redneck backwater then and some people I knew gave me crap for having a black Six Finger. Looking back, I'm proud that I was able to have given those attitudes the finger. So to speak.

Anonymous said...

Bakersfield is still kind of a redneck backwater, but we do what we can!
Happy whatever to Ken and all the other old DJs who passed through our city or stayed for the long run!

The Original Misty Dawn

WV: ansing: the dance people do when they need to use the restroom, but are busy doing other things.

A. Buck Short said...

The Fiznicks lived two houses down, but being Jewish, they didn’t celebrate Christmas. As for the hemispherically-challenged straw. It still works great as a valium delivery device.

rms said...

My dad used to fill our stockings with cars and tanks and little parachute soldiers. The only thing is my sister and I are both girls! Talk about creating paranoia.

Happy holidays to all! I've enjoyed reading this hilarious blog and all the equally hilarious comments this past year. I look forward to lots more silliness and fun in 2009!

Burl Barer said...

The fake sea captain hosting the Popeye cartoons on TV in Spokane encouraged all of us to buy the Fiz-Nik. Well, I DID and was thrilled...until the halves came apart and I was wearing my instant float. Fizzies were the best! My pal Steve and I went into a cafe, sat at the counter, ordered water, dropped in our Fizzies and had a "Happy Fizzies Party!" They booted us out.

Burl Barer, who has also featured this exciting products on his blog.

-bee said...

One has to wonder exactly HOW many millions of children have been charmed by the ads for Sea Monkeys only to be disappointed when they turned out to be...


A little plastic pouch of brine shrimp - possibly the most boring form of animal life on the planet.

Joey H said...

Mike --

I can still remember the ad slogan:

"Six Finger, Six Finger, man alive. How did we ever get along with five?"

D. McEwan said...

Oh yes, Fizzies! Unlike Fizz-Niks and Flav-R-Straws, Fizzies were good. A couple orange Fizzies gave you 30 seconds of entertainemtn, and turned a glass of water into a perfectly acceptable glass of orange soda.

Of course, sometimes I would dump ALL the Fizzies in a packet (What? 8?) into one glass of water, and end up with the strongest, most deeply flavored orange soda on earth: Jolt Orange Soda! Man, was that a lot of sugar!

Six Finger I do not remember, but what a great disguise for a spy, a weapon that made you look like a mutant. No one would notice James Bond with a sixth finger.

I do remember the classic OUTER LIMITS episode THE SIXTH FINGER with David McCallum, but his sixth finger didn't beccome a lfashlight or shoot darts.

Marie Antoinette would have loved it, because you could give someone the finger, and have it too.

WV: bolin. What the glottally-challenged do at the bo'lin' alley.

Mipsie said...

My first job was in with a small town, family owned company. My next was in a big city with a huge company. I was in charge of a very tiny outside purchase. The vendor called me to see if I was comfortable accepting a gift.Was I??? I didn't make much money, so I thought, "Yeah! Bring on the graft!" I gave my home address, tho, just in case. A massive box arrives at my "Barefoot in the Park" inspired apartment. Huge. Like what reams of office copier paper are deliver in. My excitement soars. The box is kinda light...Because it is a DISPOSABLE CHAFING dish! There is an aluminum foil pan (like you would use to cook a turkey), a tea light and the big ass corrugated box.

This was only just surpassed by a recent gift: a bookmark. I am not a materialistic person (really!) but part of the fun of the gift is the thought that went in it. In this case, the real disappointment was that I felt I was given the bookmark as a kind of weird rationalization. ("See--I got you a gift, my bases are covered.") I honestly would have preferred nothing. Who uses a bookmark??? I could see if it has some witty quote or was otherwise meaningful. But honestly, who really says, "Gee, I wish I had a bookmark." All I could think of were ungracious comments: "Were they out of Chia pets??" or "If only you found more loose change in between the couch cushions so I could get those rubberbands I've been coveting." or "A bookmark! I can't wait to throw it out!"

D. McEwan said...

Well, while I agree a bookmark makes a lousy gift, to answer your question: "Who uses a bookmark???" I do. Since I usually am switching around between two or three different books, reading whichever my mood takes me to, I use a LOT of bookmarks.

But I've only received one as a gift once. It was nice: plastic, with a picture of Charles Dickens on one side and a short bio of him on the other, and a lovely cotton tassle.

The problem was, my cats thought the tassle was a cat toy. I'd leave a book on the table with that bookmark in it, and the next day the bookmark would be on the floor - of a different room, my place in the book lost. So my gift bookmark was retired from active use, and I'm back to using the ones that come in the box with books from Amazon.com, and business cards.

TCinLA said...

Fizz-Niks will never be as cool as a Red Ryder BB gun with a 200-shot magazine.

But then again, it's unlikely anyone ever told you, when you said you wanted a Fizz-Nik...

"You'll sjoot yer eye out, kid!!"

Mary Stella said...

We had Fizzniks and the soda-Fizzies too. I think I enjoyed those root beer floats with friends while we listened to the new Bobby Sherman record we'd cut out from the back of a Raisin Bran box.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Who uses a bookmark? People who read. Just thought you'd like to know, Mipsie.

mimi said...

I still have my Fizz-Nik. I haven't used it in years but I loved it so much as a child that I could never part with it.

Deb said...

In 1961 dad (Addie Bobkins) and I flew to Seattle from Eugene, and made 10 commercials for Fizz-Niks - I never saw any of them... then the company went bankrupt. Would be so fun to find those reels!

Deb said...

In 1961 dad (Addie Bobkins) and I made 10 commercials for Fizz-Niks in Seattle! I never saw any of them... The company went bankrupt soon thereafter. I would love to find those reels!