The portable soapbox

May 13, 2008

When I purchase a new vehicle I go through the ceremony of cleaning out the glove compartment and trunk and collecting all the detritus from the old car so I can redistribute it in the new one.

Umbrellas and hats make the five- or six-foot journey, as do binoculars, some stuff to put in geocaches, a collection of random keys, a few pairs of sunglasses and my portable GPS.

I’ve even moved my portable hammock a couple times, because you never know when you might need that.

What doesn’t make the trip, mostly because I don’t own one, is a portable soapbox. But wouldn’t it be great to have a sturdy and compact stage from which to shout when you encounter an issue that warrants attention?

Sure, the Internet has given us blogs and other ways to connect with people but they’re a poor substitute for the immediacy a soapbox would provide.

“Jaywalkers should be shot!” would have been my shared discussion the other day as I drove through Boston.

Or “Why do people insist on passing me on the right?” – based on my experience driving in Europe, drivers who pass on that side are often shipped to a Turkish prison and left there to die. It should be that way here in the United States too.

But this soapbox initiative wouldn’t have to be automotive-based. You could fold up this lightweight stage and bring it with you anywhere.

In the theater line… “Personal space isn’t a theory, it’s a measurable commodity. NOW GET OFF MY BACK!”

At the ballgame… “Maybe you needed to stand up because you got a leg cramp. But if not, sit down and get off the cell phone – there’s a game going on here.”

Soapboxes would offer the meek among us to share our feelings in a non-confrontational way, too. No face-to-face shouting, just an airing of opinions.

“A wall around the U.S. border DOES sound like a good idea. But I’m not sure it’s practical.”

And “Why can’t the Democratic party just watch a few episodes of The West Wing and then pull their crap together?”

Or even, “If cigarettes kill people, why are they still a legal product?”

Sure, there’d be abuses.

“Mary has cooties!”

Leo Laporte calls them podcasts when he’s behind closed doors.”

“Goose liver pate is really tasty, I don’t care what PETA says.”

But for the most part, I think Ronco should create a line of portable boxes. And to keep the users pure they could even come with a supply of soap.

More to come…If you’re just reading for the first time, subscribe to my RSS feed.