Triumph of Innovation: The Cube-Shaped Watermelon

“In Japan, the foot can split wood,” began an unforgettable advertisement from my childhood. “But it can’t split a watermelon!” At this point in the commercial for Ginsu knives, a guy kicked a watermelon. Which was shaped … like a watermelon.

This has been on my mind since last Friday, when I came across a link to this CNN story on what seems like a good early contender for this year’s most questionable innovation: watermelon in the shape of a cube. (Last year’s most questionable innovation, according to this column, was the Cuecat; it’s a sign of something that the high-tech world has drastically slowed its pace of potential entries for 2001.)

You’ll be relieved to know that these items are apparently not the result of a genetic mutation. Farmers just grow them in glass cases that mold their shape. The point, according to CNN, is to save refrigerator space. The cube-shaped melons cost $82. While the serious issues surrounding genetically modified food don’t apply here, the cube melon is freaky and disturbing nonetheless. It is for this reason, I hope, that they’re beginning to get a monkey-man level of attention, including a segment on the Daily Show last night. In any case, it’s time for a new Ginsu ad.

Suggestions for additional Triumphs of Innovation that deserve special recognition are welcome at the e-mail address below.