My 10 mind-blowing inventions
As my resume, dating app profile and embroidered life story I tell the few dates I get demonstrate, I’m a legendary inventor.
I’m no Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, U.S. Col. Harland David Sanders, Steve Jobs or France’s unsung hero, Gaspard d’Toilettetissue, who invented not only his éponymes paper product, but also his follow-on plongeur de toilette. But just like the great inventors, I’m changing the world for the better with ideas like these:
A dashboard-mounted dental floss dispenser when commuting to and from work.
While driving, flossing takes our hands off our phones and onto a more healthy activity. Nobody we care about can see us when we’re driving, right?
2. Cards for Humanity
No, not “Cards Against Humanity,” “the party game for horrible people.” My invention is a deck of note cards intended to improve humanity.
For example, at a quiet adult restaurant when a young couple blithely ignores how their beautiful children are running around screaming and climbing on things, you slip the couple a card that says, “Congratulations on being named Parents of the Decade.”
Other Cards for Humanity would “thank” people for taking up two parking spaces; using gas-powered leaf blowers at 6 a.m. on Sunday; laughing uproariously on a long flight; or impolitely using a cell phone in public, oblivious that other people don’t want to hear your loud conversations. Catching up with a friend or relative in the Whole Foods checkout line as you hold things up because you’re good at “multi-tasking” qualifies.
You get it. If you don’t, I’ll slip you a card of congrats for your MacArthur “genius” award.
A device you wear on your wrist that delivers a powerful shock if, for example, you use “impact” as a verb or, worse, say “impactful”. Or misuse “presently” when you mean “now” instead of “soon,” or “fulsomely” when you mean “fully” not “unctuously”.
(Yes, I know, Mister Pointyhead, the modern American dictionary lets us misuse all kinds of words, but that doesn’t make it right and anyone intelligent knows it.)
You can crank up Litbit to “death-row electric chair” if you say “necessitates,” “cool beans with awesome sauce,” or any Millennial term including “bae,” “woke,” “swerve,” “sorry not sorry,” or “on fleek.”
Or if, as a Millennial, you’re writing your resume and say anything like “collaborative growth-hacking digital native influencer and customer-centric, results-oriented innovator, hard worker, natural leader and rock-star communicator who hustles a deep-dive and utilizes expert experience to synergistically think outside the box.” BZZZZZZZT!!!
Very few people like kale or people who like kale. A completely GMO kale would eat itself, leaving room in produce warehouses, on your plate and in your mouth for sweet spicy juicy crunchy chicken-fried beef and cheese with gravy, and other foods your body tells you it needs.
Kale-B-Gone also would make people shut the hell up already about the amazing health benefits of protein smoothies with kale before I slip them a Card for Humanity quoting British poet and critic Edith Sitwell: “I’m patient with stupidity but not those who are proud of it.”
Brilliant, right? I know! Thanks! With all due respects to Gaspard deToilettetissue, why in the name of sweet baby Jesus is bathroom tissue white? Who thought color contrast in that realm was a good idea?
Also, for the sake of risk management, let’s make it 10-ply. Heck, ramp it up to 27-ply if it doesn’t demand the plongeur de toilette.
We have self-cleaning ovens. If cars are going to drive themselves, why shouldn’t they take care of themselves?
7. Steering wheel keyboard
We’re never going to stop people from texting while driving. I’m writing this piece with one finger on my Apple Watch as I’m going 75 on the Washington Capital Beltway in heavy traffic. While juggling career, kids and a triple grande half-sweet non-fat caramel macchiato at 120 degrees, trying to have it all and making it happen. Plus flossing.
Writing in traffic on a standard-sized QUERTY keyboard attached to the steering wheel and linked to my car’s Apple CarPlay might make this piece at least marginally amusing, if anyone is still reading at this point.
Affixed to home computers, this IAOI (“Ignorance Activated Online Immobilizer”) device would require passing a basic intelligence test, including writing at the second-grade level or above, before allowing users to submit any comments online.
At the very least, users would have to take a basic online verification test, ranging from clicking boxes that depict road signs or liberal mob violence, to the basic, “I am not an idiot.”
Also, calling liberals stupid idiots in ungrammatical, misspelled, illogical, incoherent and fragmented rants IN ALL CAPS would shut down the user’s computer and internet access forever.
Even more beneficial, Trollock could help prevent the internet from “breaking,” “blowing up,” or “melting down.” It might even elevate public discourse, and help to mend our angry political divisions.
Trollock could even help reasonable, intelligent, open-minded people ignore irredeemable idiots who post their ridiculously ignorant racist, misogynist, homophobic, white supremacist, nativist “views” and fake news they believe because it “proves” they’re right. They might be real Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to prove their ignorance, but it doesn’t mean we need to listen to them.
The next version, Trollock Plus, would require people who speak their patriotic truth and say brave, hateful things online to sign their real names instead of hiding behind avatars and anonymity like the cowards they would be insulted to be characterized as.
Over the past ten years, I’ve spent $2,500 to “fix” my $1,000 refrigerator that confounds my Yelp-recommended repairman who on last visit said, “Sorry, I’ve never seen an exploding Maytag spread this much shrapnel and kill a cat.”
But you, like me, stick with your fridge because the Frigidaire your parents bought in the 1950s and finally moved to the garage to chill Schlitz and the field-dressed deer they hit on the way home from a cocktail party still works. So you believe refrigerators should last forever.
Bless your heart, as they say in the South. But refrigerators should come with expiration dates, just like the food in them.
As for the rest of our appliances, who gets a busted vacuum cleaner, microwave, hair dryer or old Sony Trinitron fixed anymore? We toss ’em in the basement, garage or attic until they pile up enough to attract scouts from TV’s “Hoarders”.
I know, it’s even more ridiculous than CarFloss or Brown Charmin.
But what about this: Like with car insurance, everyone would have to have decent health insurance. This would spread out the risk and costs to cover our needs and preexisting conditions.
Better than car insurance, you can’t lose this health insurance just because you use it. Regular checkups are free so people don’t get as sick and drive up everyone’s healthcare costs. Best of all, with everyone covered, people would stop hitting the emergency rooms for care, which costs all of us.
I know, Mister Pointyhead — my idea sounds a lot like the horrible Affordable Care Act, aka, “Obamacare,” which many Americans, bless their hearts, were told to hate.
But slowly, they’re coming to understand, appreciate, embrace and depend on the ACA, recognizing the pre-ACA system let people get sick and die or bankrupt their families, and a better plan wasn’t coming along any time soon, if ever.
For anyone who still thinks a better Trumpcare plan is coming soon, don’t be surprised to discover a “Cards for Humanity” message slipped to you that quotes Albert Einstein: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer