By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
Unreal has never been trapped in a car at the bottom of a river. But we have read enough newspaper articles about people who have to get a slightly queasy feeling every time we drive across the Mississippi. How happy we were, then, when we received a press release from the good people at Houdini Automotive Escape Tools.
The press release claims that 11,000 people get trapped in their cars underwater every year. That's a lot of people! Unreal could be one of them! But this is a press release and, therefore, it's intended to soothe rather than alarm. Your car may meet a terrible fate, but if you have a Houdini on hand, you can escape and float to freedom, just like the Houdini's illustrious namesake. Naturally, Unreal had to call and request a sample.
For a tool that boasts the power to shatter windows, the Houdini is surprisingly dainty. It fits neatly into the palm of our hand and has a handy little ring to attach to a keychain. The Houdini Pro, intended for police officers and firefighters, is slightly heftier, about the size and weight of a box cutter.
Both Houdinis have a blade to cut through recalcitrant seatbelts, a long-lasting light if you need to break out of your car late at night and a little black nub that the schematic diagram claims is the window breaker. The regular Houdini also boasts a whistle you can use to summon help.
The Unreal Product Testing Lab is nothing if not scientific. We tested each component in turn:
The Light: It went on. It stayed on, even submerged in the bathroom sink. Not quite bright enough to read by, but would do in a pinch in a power failure. Or on a dark road. Maybe even at the bottom of a river.
The Whistle: We blew into the two holes at the bottom of the Houdini but failed to rouse our nearest coworker a scant five feet away. But we have also consistently failed in our efforts to play the plastic kazoo, so we lent the Houdini to a colleague with a more finely developed embouchure. In his capable mouth, the whistle rang out loud and clear.
The Seatbelt Cutter: In lieu of an actual seatbelt (we were unwilling to sacrifice our own car), we used a paper towel from the RFT bathroom. It was strong enough to resist both Houdinis. Ever so gently, we prodded the blade of the Houdini Pro with our thumb. Nothing. We cut a piece of paper. The Houdini Pro cuts in a straight line. It was then we noticed a bit of blood on the handle of the Houdini Pro. Apparently it cuts flesh, too.
The Window-Breaker Thingie: The pièce de résistance. Our good friends at Houdini had sent us a small piece of glass for testing. We pressed the black butt of the Houdini against the glass. It immediately shattered into a lovely spider-web pattern. Because the whole thing was held together by some sort of protective tape, we could not actually break the glass, but we assume that one could. We were awed. Further investigation revealed that little butt holds a tiny awl capable of punching a tiny hole that can shatter a windshield. We did not have any more glass upon which to test the Houdini Pro, although the office windows looked pretty tempting. We tried a DeBarge record instead. Neither Houdini managed more than the slightest divot.
Take Our Wife
Unreal was a bit confused last week when a press agent told us about a couple from Warrenton that recently appeared on a show called Wife Swap. Who knew that a program with such a naughty name is actually a family-friendly reality show on ABC? Unreal certainly didn't — at least not until we called Michelle and Patrick Flynn to ask them about their experience.
Unreal: How was the other spouse in the sack? Was the sex phenomenal?
Michelle: Well, I'm not really into military, bald men. I don't think I'd like it.
Patrick: I like my women big. You know, the kind of woman who provides heat in the winter and shade in the summer? But the wife I got in place of Michelle was a bit too mean for me.
You mean you didn't sleep with these people?
Patrick: The only thing dirty on the show is my language. I like to drop a few F-bombs now and again. You know what I mean, babe?
Michelle: We are one of a few families campaigning to be on the show again for its 100th episode. You can vote for us at the Wife Swap website.
You're telling us you're not swingers?
Patrick: We got a tire swing out in the back yard. You should come over. We'll push you in it all night long.
Why be on a show called Wife Swap if you can't bump uglies with the other spouse?
Michelle: You learn to appreciate your spouse so much more. After two weeks I learned how much I miss Patrick despite his belching, farting and stinky feet.