February 4th, 2009

In our modern world there are a few products so associated with a particular brand that the brand name has become the common name for the thing itself. Kleenex, for instance. Sometimes I buy Puffs, sometimes I buy the Walgreens brand, but whatever the name on the little packet in my purse, I’ll always call it Kleenex. Q-Tips are maybe even a better example. Outside of my own personal usage, I hear some people ask for tissues, some for Kleenex; the two seem interchangeable. On the other hand, and I don’t know what your experience is, I’ve never witnessed a request for a cotton swab. Q-Tip is the only way I have ever heard anyone refer to the little paper sticks with cotton on either end, except to occasionally call them “ear thingies”.

Today another one of these took me by surprise. Maybe this is actually common knowledge, but it’s totally new for me. I wonder if I’m educating you or if you’re rolling your eyes at me, but I’ve just learned that Jacuzzi is the name of the guy who invented the system of pumps that turns a warm bath into therapy. I found this out because I drank a Pinot Grigio called Jacuzzi and thought, in addition to its being very good wine, that it was pretty funny for a winery to name itself after a hot tub. It turns out that the Jacuzzi family came to California from Italy and started making this wine years before their name became a household word. These people are the masters of engineering relaxation! So, here’s my free time plan from now on: A Jacuzzi in the Jacuzzi. I encourage you to join me.

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