HUMOUR is easy to dig up on the Internet. Simply Google The Onion for topical satire and you're off and running.
But it's a delight to discover something funny hiding in an unexpected location, like the website of the online shopping giant Amazon.
While the site ordinarily offers bland virtual encounters when somebody shopping for a book reads a stranger's polite review of it, a friend recently found a motherlode of weisenheimers lurking in Amazon.com's Kitchen & Dining section.
The object of their interest? The Hutzler Banana Slicer. The doodad costs less than $10 and evenly slices bananas.
Whether or not any Amazon visitors actually purchased the item, it evidently rebooted their imaginations. They've lavished the comments component of the Banana Slicer listing with 355 "customer reviews," many well worth a visit.
Somebody with the online moniker SW3K, for example, writes that for decades, "I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. 'Use a knife!' they say. Well . . . my parole officer won't allow me to be around knives. 'Shoot it with a gun!' Background check . . . HELLO!"
Using his fingers to slice bananas proved fruitless, he continues. "I would get so frustrated that I just ended up squishing the fruit in my hands and throwing it against the wall in anger."
The Hutzler Banana Slicer allegedly brought the madness to an end. SW3K is no longer consumed by "animosity towards thick-skinned yellow fruit," and is finally able to contemplate a career in musical theatre.
One "L. Blankenship" claims to have found the banana slicer a timesaving godsend: "As you may or may not know, I have 27 trained monkeys I use to do my evil bidding."
Another commenter, M. Hughes of Winnebago, Ill., says this device is the best kitchen utensil ever. Hughes apparently used to waste an enormous amount of time with a ruler and pencil, marking bananas to get perfectly uniform slices. "I was terrible at geometry and trigonometry so it was hard for me to get exact measurements on curved bananas with a straight ruler. Then I had to go back and remove the pencil marks after slicing. There was always that tiny eraser smudge on every slice."
A contributor who calls himself "roger" writes that he's tried slicing bananas with an axe, a hacksaw, and a sledgehammer, with disappointing results.
"Now, so long as I have a spare 10-15 minutes, it's banana time!" he raves. "I dream of a future where any middle-class American has access to a well-sliced banana. Thanks to Hutzler, that day is a little closer."
Meanwhile, a "Mrs. Toledo" suggests the item saved her marriage. "What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn't already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone. .
. this is one of the greatest inventions of all time," she writes.
Mr. and Mrs. Toledo once argued daily over their household's arduous banana carving duties, she explains.
When she overheard their six-year-old daughter re-enacting these ugly confrontations, Mrs. Toledo says she broke down and placed an order. Now she and her husband are blissfully happy. "And we've even incorporated the banana slicer into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!"
Some contributors suggest they're less than impressed. One of them notes Hutzler's glaring lack of a left-handed version. Another wag gripes that he's still burdened with having to peel the banana first. There's speculation that the slicer might be so difficult to operate that formal training will be necessary. Somebody from the Faroe Islands expresses a preference for one-fifth-inch-thick banana slices over the ungainly quarter-inch-thick variety the current gadget produces.
A reviewer called "Café Guy" nostalgically recalls his first Hutzler product, a "pea polisher," purchased in 1973.
"I still have it. It still polishes beautifully," he writes. "This so-called Banana Slicer is nothing but a bright yellow gadget made from moulded plastic. I wish I had been warned of this before I ordered it. If you are looking for the old fashioned aluminum banana slicer that grandma used, you will be disappointed."
References to technical issues are also sadly inevitable. "M. rogers" found the Hutzler Banana Slicer incompatible with his (or her) "banana 5."
"I feel like a huge schmendrick, waiting in line for three days in a tent outside my local produce store for the newest banana," rogers writes. "I tried downloading the software patch, but when I crammed the Hutzler into my floppy drive it told me to connect the HDMI cable."
Since the cable is proprietary, rogers continues, he bought a cheap Chinese knock-off slicer, but the wretched thing still wouldn't address the banana 5.
"When I called Hutzler, they said it was a problem with my banana and to contact Dole. Dole says it's Hutzler's issue. I can't spend a lifetime trying to figure this out," rogers wails into cyberspace. "After a firmware update, my banana 5 won't even connect to the Internet anymore. I'm glad I backed up everything before I started, but to restore back to banana 4s is just silly. Thanks for nothing Hutzler, I'm starving!"