January 27, 2013

It’s hard to believe that so many drivers don’t know what the little stick thing with the button at the top is for. The one between them and the passenger.

It’s a handbrake.

The idea is, when parking, you pull it on, and it stops your car from rolling away. (That said, I have to admit there have been a couple of occasions when I had to chase my car down the street.)

But that’s by the way.

The other use for a handbrake is when you come to traffic lights and they are red. You brake. Pull on the handbrake. Select neutral gear. Then take your feet off the pedals.

What could be simpler?

So, how come many people don’t actually use it? Instead, they sit in front of you with their foot firmly on the brake pedal.

Was a time when cars had two brake lights, one on either side, and down low. Now, however, most have an extra strip of laser-bright red LEDs at a height which precisely matches the eyeball height of the driver behind.

On a dark night you invariably have one of these never-use-the-handbrake clowns in front of you, and their intense eyelevel brake light is melting your eyeballs.

Obviously they never look in their rear view mirror, because if they did they would see a furious, demonic luminous red face glowering at them.

And when they eventually take their foot off the brake to draw away, the after-image of their brake light is burned into you retina to the extent that you don’t realise they’ve gone.

Just another example of the thoughtless, inconsiderate, lazy driver.

That brake light after-image could explain so many UFO sightings, though. “It was amazing… this red light seemed to dance in front of me. Wherever I looked it was there; just in front of me… until it melted through a wall. And my car didn’t.”

So, to those drivers: the brake pedal is for slowing you down and stopping. Its purpose is not to stop you from rolling away. That’s what the handbrake is for.

The driver behind you would like me to pass that message on to you.

Drew McAdam



January 21, 2013


Here’s a little secret. Dishonest technicians sometimes invent vague, senseless technical-jargon. They do this to describe a serious problem with the machine, then offer to ‘fix it’. At a price.

Another secret? Advertising and sales people do the same thing. The psychology is based on the premise that if you can convince somebody they have a problem, then offer your product as a solution, they’ll buy it.

Of course, there doesn’t actually have to be a problem in the first place. You just have to convince the customer that there is, and that your product can solve that problem.

So, what problem does the following solve? It has computer-designed ribs to give flexibility. It’s rechargeable and has a ‘daily clean mode’. It also has a waterproof handle – which is ergonomically designed – and is electrically safe. There is even a sonic version.

So, what problem would such a piece of hi-tech gadgetry solve? I’ll tell you; it cleans out wee pieces of stuff that’s stuck in your teeth. Yes, what I have been describing is the techno-babble pseudo science description of an electric toothbrush.

Advertisers and salesmen are wonderful psychologists. Their job is to manipulate us into buying something based on the fact that it solves a problem we didn’t even know we had. And the more techno-speak they can use the better.

Yes, advertising execs must think we are terribly stupid. Which is why they come up with slogans like ‘New and improved’. When you think about that, it’s just noise – empty words.

How can something be new AND improved? It can only be one or the other. If it’s new, then it can’t be an improved version. And if it’s improved, then it can’t be new! See what I mean?

They invent a problem. Offer to fix it. Then bamboozle us with meaningless techno-phrases and hollow slogans.

The worrying thing? It works, and we buy their stuff.

It’s their little secret. And now you know it, too.

Drew McAdam


January 14, 2013


I’ve been around for a few years. And in that time I’ve learned a number of lessons in life.

Okay, at first it was simple things like how to walk. And to tell my parents when I needed the potty, rather than just go wherever I happened to be at the time.

Then I learned how to tie my laces, read and write – sort of.

But the really big lessons, the ones that are important to surviving in life, I learned much later. And I would like to share some of those rules with you.

First, a piece of advice from my father: Never be a smarty-pants to a man who is wearing a peaked cap.

Sure, it can be tempting sometimes, but it’s Rule Number One for a reason.

Then there is Rule Number Two: Never be cheeky to a waiter. At least, not before your food arrives.

These two rules will keep you out of prison and hospital.

But there are rules for ensuring a great quality of life, too. For example: Never pass up the opportunity to indulge in some serious mucking around.

And don’t take things too seriously. 100 years from now we’ll all be dust, so bunking off work for a day to go for a paddle in the sea and a picnic in the dunes will have zero impact in the great scheme of thing. But you will create a sunshine memory that you’ll remember with joy for the rest of your life.

Remember: Nobody on their death bed ever wished that they’d spent more time at the office.

You should let that little child inside you off the leash at least once a day – even if it’s only when nobody is looking. It keeps the kid alive.

And the big GOLDEN rule? Always answer “Yes”, THEN find out what the question was. This approach has led me to meet fascinating people, and dropped me into exciting situations. It has brought more opportunities and experiences than I could ever have hoped for or imagined.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a paddle and a picnic.

Drew McAdam


January 6, 2013


Do you remember the TV programme where members of a family would play daft games, then the ultimate winner watched items pass on a conveyor belt? They then won the prizes that they could recall in a set time. These prizes usually consisted of household appliances, and a cuddly toy. There was always a cuddly toy.

Well, here is a list of the sort of thing that might have been on that conveyor belt: diary, camera, hi-fi music centre, chess board, world atlas and radio.

If that was all, and you remembered them, you would be doing quite well.

So here are some more items: torch, games console, calculator, video camera and a telephone.

How many of them would you have managed to remember?

But we’re not finished yet. There’s a compass, clock and a notebook. There’s also an encyclopaedia, dictionary and photo album, television set and music collection, along with a calendar, books and a collection of recent movies.

Got all that?

The thing that struck me about this game was that it would be very nice to win all the items, but how did the winner transport all their booty?

I had a mental image of the contestant leaving the TV studio, shoving a massive wheelbarrow loaded with the mountain of goodies they’d won, then trying to get everything onto a bus.

I mean, seriously; how would you transport all that stuff home?

But if you were to win all those prizes today, 40 years on from when The Generation Game was at its height, you wouldn’t need a wheelbarrow… Because everything on that list can be carried in your pocket!

Except the cuddly toy.

Think about it.

Drew McAdam