The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


James Lileks has extended the food section of his Institute of Official Cheer with a pamphlet on Bar-B-Tricks. In one case, however, I must defend tradition against Mr. Lileks's futuristic mockery. On SOS steel wool pads, he writes:
Okay, so it’s interwoven. Noted. They seem quite proud of the fact, even though you have no idea what it means.
If you have ever used a steel wool pad, you know precisely what this means. Brillo pads, which are not interwoven, swiftly collapse into separate tentacles like a bundle of french fries tied at one end. Meanwhile, the SOS pad steadfastly maintains its overall shape, and thus its utility.

Brillo pads are also square, rather than pleasingly oblong, and stubbornly red (whereas SOS pads are now a soothing pale blue). Thus practical and aesthetic superiority are harmoniously conjoined in the SOS pad.