When Walter Anderson decided to mix his hobbies with his fetishes in order to start a business, he never realized that he would encounter the weight and power of the US Federal Government.
Hindsight is 20/20, and if Anderson had it all to do over again, he would think twice.
It all started several years ago when Walter took a hike into the local woods of his hometown in order to go bird watching. Walter had chronicled the ornithological wildlife indigenous to the gulf coast region he had made his home for well over 20 years. That particular Saturday was no different from any other weekend day he had spent in the outdoors enjoying nature.
On that particular day, the planets lined up and a series of mutually exclusive coincidences took place which would change Anderson’s life forever.
As he had done for years before, Walter packed a lunch, his laptop with mobile internet access, and the binoculars his father had left to him so many years before upon his passing. Perched high up in a tree with his binoculars hanging from his neck and his laptop in his, well, lap, the bird watcher quietly passed the time by surfing the web.
Bird watching wasn’t the only thing Walter did on these frequent constitutionals, however it was the only thing he ever admitted to in those days. Walter liked to look at dirty pictures. The internet served as a perfect vehicle for him to view a wide variety of nude women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. The amazing thing nowadays was that he didn’t even have to go to specific websites which demanded a credit card number in order to reveal it’s flesh toned product. Instead, he could go to Twitter to see everything he was looking for. Walter always considered it to be a happy coincidence that he could combine his bird watching with his desire to look at pictures of naked women on a website named for birds in general. That site was Twitter.
As he always did, Walter would perch himself on a tree branch up in the air to view his favorite website as he patiently waited for birds to appear. As he typed different entries into Twitter in search of pictures of young ladies who wanted to share their endowments through the wonders of social networking, a bird landed on a nearby branch. The bird caught Anderson’s eye, and he immediately manipulated the touch pad on his laptop to activate his bird watching tracking program.
So he thought.
As he spied the bird a mere 10 feet away from him, he typed feverishly on his laptop without looking at the screen.
By the time Walter realized that he had remained on Twitter while trying to catalogue his observation of a titmouse, he had typed an entry right after the hash tag he had entered moments before. That entry was “#tit”.
The touchpad hadn’t worked correctly when he tried to switch programs, and now Walter was viewing more entries and pictures of topless women on Twitter. It was there that Walter had his epiphany.
The first part of the thought was that he needed to use a mouse with his laptop. Had he done so, he wouldn’t have encountered an all too common error among laptop users who inadvertently rest their hands on the touchpad.
The second part, and probably the more important part, was and idea for a new product.
A “tit mouse” for the computer would make him millions. The idea of designing a computer mouse to resemble the human breast was a brilliant one. It would have one button which looked like a nipple, and was generally on the top but capable of moving around depending on it’s orientation.
Upon returning home, Walter immediately went to work in developing his idea for the next big thing. Binoculars weren’t the only thing which had been willed to the future entrepreneur by his late father. There was plenty of cash too, and up until now, it had gone unused and unspent.
Over the next year, Walter successfully created his vision of the Tit Mouse. Everything about it was a generic computer mouse shaped and painted to look like a nude breast, complete with the nipple button on top. In the second year, he expanded the product line into other designs of mice. There was the wireless mouse which didn’t have the trappings of a wire to connect to the computer. Year two also saw the advent of varying shapes and sizes of what various magazines (including the New England Journal of Medicine) called the “best darn product on the market”. Multiple colors were introduced too. Those colors didn’t only represent the various colors of skin among humans, but tan lines and the occasional blue vein was included too.
Business was great.
Walter and the marketing firm he kept on retainer took the Tit Mouse to various trade shows, expos, and even Comic-Con. The demographic of people buying and using the Tit Mouse ranged from teenaged boys, to college fraternities, to OB-GYNs, adult novelty shops, and even breast cancer awareness foundations.
Year three brought Walter continued success to the point where it was now time to endeavor in a more ambitious version of the original design. It was that ambitious goal which signaled the eventual downfall of the one time bird watcher.
Copy cat companies were beginning to copy and market their own version of the Tit Mouse, so it was time to outshine the competition. The Tit Mouse was about to undertake an overhaul which would give it a more accurate simulation of the real thing.
In Tit Mouse II, as it was called, the idea was to replace the navigating laser which traditionally resides on the bottom of the mouse with a ball on top. That ball would be the shape and color of a nipple, and serve as the primary control. To move the pointer, one only had to roll the finger over the ball. Other functions normally assigned to the left and right buttons on a traditional mouse would be carried out by twisting, tweaking, and pinching the ball.
Surrounding the ball would be the breast, however it wouldn’t be made of the traditional hard plastic. The outer covering would be a creative blend of various vinyl, leather, and rubber products which was intended to represent the look and feel of human skin. The inside of Tit Mouse II was filled with either a silicone or saline solution (customer’s choice) to simulate the consistency of a breast.
In addition to the innovative design of Tit Mouse II, it was also customizable. For a premium, customers could provide a picture of their breast, or even a plaster mold in some cases to have a Tit Mouse II created specifically for them which resembled their own breast.
For the first several months following the introduction of Tit Mouse II, sales skyrocketed over all of the creative marketing surrounding the next best thing. Just as much as people were buying them off of the shelves, they were also having custom ones produced too.
Six months in, problems cropped up. Several reports started to surface that the liquid filling in the Tit Mouse II was leaking. Leaking subsequently rendered the mouse useless as moisture and electronics usually does.
When Walter and his company had just about solved the issue of the leaks within the internal workings of the Tit Mouse II, tragedy struck. It all happened in a small town in Ohio, when a 16 year old boy who had purchased Tit Mouse II off of the shelf choked to death on the navigation ball.
Contrary to the warnings in the paperwork which came with the Tit Mouse II, and the specific verbiage in the End Users License Agreement attached to the software for the mouse, the boy had used his mouth to operate the navigational ball instead of his fingers. The boy apparently sucked on the ball so hard that it became disengaged from it’s compartment and shot directly into his throat. He was alone at the time it happened, so there was no one available to help dislodge the foreign object from his throat.
A lawsuit on behalf of the late teenager was filed shortly after. The Consumer Product Safety Commission subsequently stepped in and shut down Walter’s Tit Mouse empire as quickly as it had come into business just a few short years earlier.
During the legal proceedings which followed both in federal and civil court, Walter’s legal team made a case for Walter and his product. The argument revolved around the concepts that any product development requires three factors.
- The product had to be manufactured responsibly. It had been.
- The product had to be regulated appropriately. It had been.
- The product had to be used by the consumer responsibly. It hadn’t been.
Even though Walter’s case had clearly been made with the most acute of common sense, the case against him was successful. Walter subsequently became a broken man after resolving the assorted fines and lawsuits filed against him.
In the end, Walter returned to his times of the past where he would resume his Saturdays perched in a tree watching for birds. He continued to take his laptop so as to continue looking at dirty pictures.
One particular Saturday while he sat there surfing Twitter and his favorite hash tags, a tufted-titmouse landed just a few feet away from where he sat. It just sat there and stared at him.
Walter made no attempt to document the fact that he had seen the bird. Instead, he calmly closed the laptop, picked it up, and started violently swinging at the little bird with his computer with the hope of relieving the misery the titmouse bird had brought him. The bird reacted too quickly for him though, and flew away.
Sadly, in the process of swinging his laptop at the bird, Walter had forgotten he was twenty feet up and on a tree branch. By the time he experienced that crucial moment of situational awareness, he had lost his balance and had begun the fall which would result in what he would consider to be his timely and poetic death.