Okay, so it doesn't do everything you want it to. Truthfully, it doesn't do much of anything. But the very fact that it was invented should give us all reason to celebrate the promise of a better future.

Before I tell you what it is, I should note its august pedigree, because many of us have thought such a thing impossible, the way mankind once thought flight or landing a man on the moon or frosting a Pop-Tart so that it doesn't melt in the toaster impossible.
Yes, it is of that caliber. And so it took the extraordinary IQ wattage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - one of the nation's premier institutions of higher learning, a laboratory for brainiacs, a veritable briar pit of brilliant minds - to develop this device, an invention so fundamental to the improvement of the species that its true value will become apparent only in years to come.

The device is called the Jerk-O-Meter.

Throughout history, identifying a jerk has been subjective. At this stage in human development, we must resort to rolling our eyes, shaking our heads, raising our hands to the heavens in the universal "Why, oh, why must I work with this guy?" plea.

True, we - and here I regret I must use scientific terminology and note that I am speaking specifically of Homo sapiens - have evolved to being able to recognize a jerk from a nonjerk. But we Homo sapiens - including, and here is the problem, jerks - have not been able to put that final piece of the puzzle into place: proving without doubt or argument that someone is a jerk.

But thanks to the Jerk-O-Meter, all the guesswork is gone. Soon, we'll be able to quantify jerkism. We'll prove scientifically that a person is a jerk (or, at least at that moment, lapsing into jerkocity).

Before continuing, I suppose I should tell you how the Jerk-O-Meter works.