Artisan

  1. Food produced in small batches to ensure a high level of imperfection
  2. Household products that are scuffed and dented by hand
  3. Hippie or hipster creating small batch, ugly products in order to avoid a desk job

Usage Example: “No, this coffee table wasn’t built by a kindergarten class; it is a hand-made artisan table. I bought it from that guy with a gray pony tail. He has a shop downtown. He says that the design came to him while on a spirit quest.”

Background: Artisan is an incredibly versatile term. While the word is often used to describe bumpy, uneven products; it is also used to describe the bumpy, uneven people who create them.

The food industry uses the word “artisan” in order to maximize profits. That bumpy, slightly burned loaf of bread may have been made using a bag of mix, but since it looks bad, it can be called “artisan bread.” That label will allow the store to charge twice as much.

Artisans are people who dream of turning their hobbies into a food truck, hipster bbq trailer, or getting a share of an artist’s co-op. These people create products using the most cumbersome and old fashioned methods possible. This allows artisans to charge maximum prices for their products, and avoid desk jobs for as long as possible.

Many people attempt ugly, artisan home repairs. Fixing a lawn mower using duct tape always qualifies as an artisan repair.

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Magic Marker

  1. Brand name for a line of Bic dry erase markers, which allegedly possess magic powers
  2. Office supply product which consistently fails to fly, levitate, make objects disappear or teleport itself

Usage Example: “I’d like to return these Magic Markers. They aren’t quite as magical as advertised.”

Background: The term “magic marker” is sometimes casually applied to any felt-tipped writing device. However, the brand Magic Marker belongs to a line of Bic dry erase markers. Magic Marker packaging indicates that they are capable of “low odor and bold writing.” Since no other magical properties are clearly identified on the packaging, consumers are left to assume that the low odor and bold writing are the only magic that can be performed with the marker.

This disturbingly low threshold for magical powers is not unique to office supplies. Similar complaints have been raised about other products. The Canadian band Magic! claims to be magical, but can’t even figure out “why you gotta be so rude.” Likewise, the Mr. Clean magic eraser appears to exhibit its powers by slowly flaking away and disintegrating into nothingness. Long-term disappearing acts are not very magical. The lack of magic in so-called magical products is a widespread concern.

In the marker world, there is even a dispute about whether or not possessing “low odor” is a positive attribute, let alone a magical power. While the Magic Marker advertises low odor, Mr. Sketch markers have made a career out of being “high odor” markers. The magic contained within Mr. Sketch markers may be more powerful, because not only do they possess high odor, but kids who use them magically end up with multicolored dots under their noses. This phenomenon may come from sniffing the markers at dangerously close range, or it could be magic.