Upon a moment's reflection, the creepiness of this product becomes apparent, explaining why it never caught on. The notion of one's own voice pleasantly or angrily cajoling the sleeper to awake is straight out of some Philip K. Dick dystopia, in which the hero's brain has been split into two separate personalities. "Wake up, Paul, wake up! Today is the day you must assassinate the ambassador from Rigel Nine!"
Anthropologist Holly Wardlow did extensive fieldwork among the Huli people of Papua New Guinea. She offers this account of a curious way that Huli women get the upper hand (so to speak) in marital disputes:
many women when falsely accused [of adultery by their husbands] will lop off their index or pinky fingers at the first or second joint. This practice is quite common: of the fifty women with whom I conducted life history interviews, ten of them had one or two finger joints missing. Indeed this practice by Huli women is so pervasive that children say they make a point of hiding all knives and axes whenever their parents argue, not only to prevent them from injuring each other, but to prevent their mothers from lopping off their fingers. Like suicide, finger-lopping is motivated by anger and indignation, but it is highly performative as well; for example, one is supposed to maintain enough presence of mind to hurl the finger at one's accuser and yell something like, "keba biba haro, inaga ki bi pugu ngerogoni" (In order to cut off/finish my anger, I'm cutting off my finger and giving it to you.)
The ad copy advises me to "Think of it!" and to contemplate the "powerful chain reaction." I sure am, buster! I'm thinking of what happens when you apply an explosive force to a ceramic bowl filled with excrement and wet paper that won't flush. And why aren't these devices common nowadays, if they were so great?
I think I'll stick with the old plumber's helper, thank you!