"Instagram" Influencer from Before Social Media Even Existed

Here's a weird story for you. I remember as a kid reading one of those birthday party idea books that I can't find on Google now but I know it had a lot of science-themed birthday party ideas - I think it had "Einstein" in the title somewhere (which frankly is a thing to make Einstein roll in his grave AND reaffirm his feelings about human stupidity, yet is utterly unsurprising given how this story is going). Anyway, in the introduction of the book there was this paragraph talking about how wonderful it is to give kids party favors that aren't mere toys and candy, but things they'll always remember. And they presented an example of a party in which someone gave out tiny fir trees (seedlings, obviously) wrapped in paper towels with instructions of care provided.

As a kid, I simply figured I'd be disappointed if I received that because we don't have a yard and couldn't grow it.And I'd have wanted the toys and candy anyway. But looking back, for one thing, from a modern perspective, that has to be the most Instagram/Pinterest influencer shit I've ever heard of. In a book of birthday party ideas, of all places. Purporting to be stuff patents can do on a relative shoestring. And having learned a bit more about how trees are grown, I now know plenty of the parents of the party guests who got those oh-so-memorable tiny fir trees would have neither the space nor time to grow their tree, nor in some cases the money to buy the stuff needed for the upkeep of that tree as it grows. There would also be a lot of trees destined for the landfill, disappointed tears from kids, and gentle parental letdowns - if they were LUCKY. If ANY of those parents were the type who are now rabid Trump supporters (and who surely would agree with most of us on the stupidity of that party favor if nothing else), those kids would have more than likely gotten an earful on top of the disappointment.

I know for a fact that the parents who wrote that book - and somehow got it published in a time before self-publication was even a thing, even though my dad repeatedly had a book on nearly the art level of a Van Allsburg book, The Boy Inside, get rejected for publishing on the basis that it had "too many words per page", never mind that it vividly depicted the perspective of someone who grew up with ADHD. Somehow this jackass who had the nerve to put Einstein's name in the title of the book while bragging about party favors as hilariously out of touch as fir tree seedlings - somehow that got published. I'm betting the person who published that had plenty of connections and charisma, and would probably have a million likes on Instagram if they were raising their kids now rather than in the 80s or 90s. And they'd probably prove Einstein's points about human stupidity some other way.