Never Mind Its Mother, Depravity Is The Stepfather Of Invention
The other day, I lunched at Popeye’s Chicken. Afterward, I went back to the counter to thank them for such a delicious meal. Then I set about to thinking of a new way to bring peace to humanity.
Here’s what I came up with: biscuits with honey. Who can be upset if they’ve got a nice warm biscuit with some honey slathered on it? It’s a recipe for pure tranquility, no? So the next time we go to war, I’d like to see us lob a missile that explodes, but then just rains down honey-covered biscuits.
If that doesn’t work, we could give social grooming a whirl. It seems to work for chimps, and too often man attempts to escape his base monkey nature for no good reason. Perhaps that’s been the problem all along. Wouldn’t it be relaxing to have someone come up and brush your hair? But should you tip? And who’s making sure the brushes are clean? How can you politely let someone know if they’re brushing too hard? Some people like a gentle brushing. Clearly, this solution is fraught with problems.
So nuts to world peace. Instead, let’s explore how to become an inventor. My favorite invention of all time is that little plastic tripod they put in the middle of a pizza before it goes in the delivery box, in order to keep the box top from smashing the cheese. Just a crazy, simple little doodad, and yet the inventor is probably reading this on his yacht in the Caribbean.
The lesson from this is that creating a highly profitable invention is easier than it seems. Just follow these four simple rules:
1. Prey on people’s fear, greed, laziness, or stupidity. (Note: also the best way to get elected to public office.)
2. Give your invention a kitschy name.
3. When in doubt, simply make a minor change to an existing product, and tout it as a revolution.
4. Charge $29.95 for it, or three easy payments of $9.95, plus shipping and handling. Tax extra, no CODs.
Let’s practice: for an invention that preys on people’s fear, how about a doorbell-type button outside your bathroom that, when pushed, lowers the toilet lid and flushes for you? Germ freaks will love it. And now that I think about it, let’s have it ring a doorbell in the bathroom, too, just for kicks. Custom versions (extra charges apply) will allow people to download different tones for the Toilet Bell, or enable it to play snippets of certain songs, such as “These Boots Were Made for Walkin’.” I should probably also add a sensor that detects whether or not the toilet is occupied before the button can be used, to prevent tricksters from flushing while the toilet’s in use, but that will be part of the new, improved version, available 18 months after the initial release at the incredible low, low price of just $239.95!
An invention that serves people’s laziness is the remote control. Another will be the voice-activated mop: the Speakamop*. Users will provide it with a bucket of soapy water, and then tell it, “Please clean the kitchen.” Also: “Get back in there and clean that corner! No, not that corner; you know which one I mean, you lazy mop!!”
(*Yes, I know the makers of Roomba have come up with a similar device called Scooba, but Speakamop will have it all over Scooba, and I expect them to capitulate in a matter of months.)
Adding a patentable twist to an existing item is probably the easiest way to go. For instance, the loaded hot dog. Never mind stuffing it with cheese—this one’s filled with ketchup, mustard and relish. Be sure to also try the Moo-N-Toot—a hamburger patty made with ground beef and pulverized baked beans.
Here are some other good inventions:
- ET-FM. All alien radio, all the time. For people who are convinced we’re receiving signals from outer space. It’s really just a digital tape recorder on a loop, in the shape of a flying saucer. Most of the time it plays nothing but white noise, but every three or four days it will broadcast a message such as, “Booga!Booga!Booga!,” or “Attention Earth: Who touched my bike? It’s the red one.”
- The Home Jim. A guy named “Jim” shows up at your door and yells at you to exercise more. For an additional fee, he’ll chase you around the house and call you “Fatso.”
- The Portable Wife. A pocket-sized, holographic projector on which wives can record themselves asking their husbands to take care of certain tasks. The 21st century to-do list. Creative wives can have fun with it by leaving such recordings as: “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re the only one who can paint the shutters.” And it might actually work, since guys will think it’s cool to use. Of course, they also might just giggle at you wagging your finger and going on about bringing home a loaf of bread and cleaning the gutters.
So, as you can see, coming up with inventions is easy. The hard part will be getting all those sticky, honey-covered biscuits into the nose cone of the missile.