nwcoastartDefinitely an underreported news item, I recently read that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had sponsored a contest to design a new and improved condom. Yes, that Bill Gates. The inspired idea for the competition was that condoms need to be easier to use, and safer, for all parties involved.

There were 812 entries—some by individuals, and some by major medical corporations—and 11 cash prizes of $100,000 each were awarded for the top ideas. There is also the possibility of collecting another cool million after actual product development.

I wasn’t two paragraphs into the article when my brain began bombarding me with a multitude of jokes just screaming for attention. And while encouraging responsible birth control is certainly no laughing matter, I was laughing my politically incorrect head off.

Seriously, this contest was sponsored by the head of MicroSOFT? I’d say any guy in that condition would find a condom totally unnecessary… Not only soft, but micro, too? Good grief! Talk about your virtual field days for stand up comics!

Examples of the winning designs include a condom that’s composed of a combination of cow tendon and fish skin as well as a “wrapping condom” that “clings like Saran Wrap rather than squeezes.” The condom of the future might have “shape memory” or come with “pull tabs” so no one would be “confused” about which way to slip it on.

I shared the article with my friend Rick, and he readily agreed that if he’d known about such a lucrative contest, he’d have submitted a few ideas of his own.

His best, by far, was the idea of a spray-on condom. He proposed something like a cross between “Fix-a-flat” (do I really have to explain this?), and “Stop Leak.” (He said it could come in different colors for different ethnicities.)shopping

But I was afraid his idea would increase the likelihood that what the guys in college told me would actually happen—that if they didn’t find release their entire genital region would blow up—but Rick assured me that was only one of a number of horny male myths.

Well, more power to the Gates Foundation for tackling this tender topic. The results are sure to be more effective than using Alligator Baggies… But maybe not any less funny.