SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Bigger and Better, New and Improved!
By Dave Kiffer


May 01, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - When I was at Kayhi (during the Ford and Carter administrations!), one of my favorite TV shows was the original "Saturday Night Live" with Ackroyd-Belushi-Radner et al. It was "must see" every week TV for myself and my semi-delinquent posse.

I particularly remember one of its first "spoof" commercials in which a razor company was introducing the "Trak 3" razor.

At the time, everyone else had two blade razors and the "Trak 3" was that much better because, well simply because it three blades instead of two. The two bladed razors of the day claimed that the first blade pulled the whisker away from the face and the second cut if off for a "closer" shave.

The Trak 3 went one step further. The first blade pulled the hair out, the second pulled it even farther and the third cut it off for the "closest shave imaginable."

At the end of the commercial, the announcer intoned " The Trak 3. We made it for you, because you'll believe anything!"

That was the the gotcha. The clear indication that the commercial was a joke. But the point was made. If you're a guy "bigger, better, more" will always appeal to you.

Of course was all laughed heartily at the idea of a three-blade razor. It was way out there. Then a few years ago, one company came up with a real three-blade razor. Then a competitor offered a four-blader. Then the original company shot back with a five-blader.

And you thought the escalating Cold War arms race between the US and the USSR was intense!

A while back, I was going through old boxes and I found some stuff that I had saved from when my father died. I found a watch, a wallet and one of those old single blade (Museum Quality!) razors. I'm sure that my old Alaskan Dad probably started out using honed clam shells to shave when he was in school and then graduated to flattened gaff hooks (looks something like a Ulu). But by the end he was using - for the time - the most modern shaving apparatus available.

It is a guy thing. My Dad was a generally conservative, frugal type because he had to be. Money was tight, we always had a really old car or truck (those Studebakers and 1950s Chevy's would be worth a fortune today).

But I know that my Dad always hankered after larger, faster boats. One of his troller friends had a converted seiner that could cruise at around 8 knots. Dad's troller topped out at 6.5 knots when the tide was with us. Dad used to always grumble that his friend would beat him to the next big strike of fish. Frankly, he'd usually only beat us there by a half an hour or so, but in Dad's mind the other boat was "lapping" us at the Indy 500.

When I was growing up, I always wanted "bigger and better" motorcycles. I already told y'all how that turned out. Going way too fast on a freeway down South and nearly scaring myself to death. If I ever get another bike, it won't be the "biggest, fastest" thing on two wheels. Been there, done that, still shaking.

But most guys still want "bigger and better" cars and trucks. That leads us to buying 40 foot long "hemis" that could tow the Titanic down Tongass. Of course, most of us can't afford to buy the "Titanic." But why quibble?

As we tow our "Little Lunds" around we still dream about someday trading up to a "Bigger Bayliner" and then eventually a "Titanic Titanic." Something that would allow us to blast across Clarence Strait in minutes, on those three days out of the year when Clarence Strait is calm enough for you to "blast" across without dislocating your spine.

It's like that with a lot of things - mostly tools, gadgets and instruments of transportation. Guys will swear they hate "shopping" and that may be true. But they all love to either "trade up" or get "new" stuff.

How else do you explain the concept of "starter" homes, "starter" jobs, and "starter" marriages?

Getting back to razors, a few weeks ago, I saw a new razor that had five blades. Naturally, I bought one to see how it worked. After all, the advertisement claimed it shaved closer than any previous razor and also was better for your skin.

It didn't and it wasn't. So last week I went back to my three-bladed razor which, surprise, surprise, still work's just fine.

Actually it works better than the five-blader because even though each of the five blades pulls the whisker out farther than the last, none of them actually seems to cut it. At least the Trak 3 leaves my face "smooth as a baby's bottom."

Yet, I am a guy and I therefore must believe in both the positive progress of mankind and the eternal quest for the "perfect" razor.

I can hardly wait for the "Next Generation, New and Improved, Trak 6."


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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