In contemporary times, a dirtbag is a term generally used to describe an undesirable, unscrupulous person. If we get literal with the term, we have a bag of dirt. How does one most easily acquire a bag of dirt? Due to our faithful buddy, gravity, dirt tends to congregate on floors and grounds. We then look down, and wonder how we can wrangle it all into one contained area… a dirtbag, if you will.
This was the dilemma facing Ives McGaffney in 1866. He formulated an idea, and developed a device which would remove dirt from floors. To my knowledge, he was not obsessive compulsive – not that there’s anything wrong with that – his main focus was to clean the air in a space, reducing cases of asthma and other assorted respiratory issues. There was, of course, the fringe benefit of not basking in a sea of filth every time you walk through your front door. The birth of the vacuum had taken shape.
“Vacuums are not interesting”, you may say. Nonsense! An interesting thought formulated in my brainpiece during my recent trip to Action Vacuum, in Jupiter, Florida. Allow me to direct you to, a little something I like to call, one of the most notable and entertaining media franchises of all time. This franchise developed two movies, with a third, reboot of the series, releasing this summer. It has had merchandise galore, video games, Halloween costumes, a Saturday morning cartoon, an unforgettable theme song, and even my favorite drink as a kid, Hi-C Ecto-Cooler. I am referring, of course, to Ghostbusters. Now, hear me out. In Ghostbusters, there are unwanted things in places, which, if not cleared, could pose a danger to the people within. They have a device which sucks said unwanted things into a receptacle. They use it, and the whole city rejoices. Vacuums. The whole franchise is about vacuums.
The initial design for the vacuum consisted of a hand crank attached to bellows, which when cranked, sucked air through a long tube. This crude contraption merely redistributed the confiscated debris to a more desirable, but still not ideal, location. In 1901, the vacuum filter was invented by Hubert Cecil Booth to remedy this issue, after laying a handkerchief on a chair, inhaling with his mouth directly against the handkerchief, and after picking it up, noticing the dirt and dust particles which clung to its opposite side. I wonder if he ever got half the credit for inventing the game Suck & Blow. His invention, which he named “Puffing Billy”, was an unwieldy monstrosity which was gasoline powered and transported by horse-drawn carriage. It sat outside, the suction tube running inside through a window. The first portable electric vacuum cleaner was invented in 1907, by a department store custodian named James Murray Spangler… suspiciously similar to Spengler, the brains behind the Ghostbusters I rest my case.
Today, vacuum cleaners have come a long way from their original design. The basic concept remains the same, but their doohickey and thingamabobber game is on fleek. There are attachments for every type of feasible situation. Dust in the crevices of your crevices? Psshaw, no bigs. The reason for so much revision over the years, is that the vacuum industry is essential in modern society, with 98% of all households owning one… the other 2% Being dirtbags, instead of owning one, I guess. That being said, I pay extra close attention in my search for any item that I will only purchase once in a while, but use on a regular basis. Recently, my vacuum busted, originally my mom’s old vacuum, probably from 1977, that she gave me when I moved out. Therefore, I clearly had no expertise on the subject. If you want an amazing haircut, you go to the best barber, so rather than becoming a vacuum expert, I sought one out.
This brings me back to my experience over at Action Vacuum. After a little bit of research, I found Scott Peranio, the owner of the establishment, as well as the most qualified vacuum specialist in the area, Jupiter’s own resident Peter Venkman, who has over 30 years experience in the field. Following a brief introduction, I came to learn that he is the third generation in this family business, which has taken different names over the years. He asked me what type of vacuum cleaner I was looking for, so I said, “My old one was blue… so maybe blue.” After an enjoyable banter, he made a suggestion. What is so unique about his place, is that Action Vacuum allows a potential buyer to sample the product in the store, before purchase. Everything about the experience was enjoyable, from his clear expertise to the welcoming atmosphere. They also service the products that they sell, so this was more like a forging of a relationship, rather than a one-and-done. You can check out their website at www.jupitervacuum.com. With the product I had when I walked out, I can safely say that I am now the proud owner of The Terminator of vacuum cleaners.
Some time later, I inevitably had to clean the contraption. Amidst this process, the irony hit me… I had BECOME a vacuum cleaner. Duh-duh dah-dump dah-dump. Duh-duh-duh-duh dah-dump. Dust! Buster!
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