Summer: the mother of inventions
It’s enjoyable to write columns in the summer because you know no one is paying attention anyway. That gives one the freedom to drop subjects such as War and Peace and replace them with matters that are really important.
For example, I’ve always wanted to invent devices and ideas that would rank my name right up there with the great inventors such as Galileo, Edison, Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Here are some samples:
I’d invent house shoes that always land right-side-up when you drop them on the floor. I hate it when they land upside-down and I can’t get my feet in them. You see, you could mount a gyroscope in each shoe like the gyros pilots use in airplanes to help them keep the wings level. As the shoes fall, the gyro keeps them right-side-up.
I’d invent a holder for paper towels that would keep the paper from rolling too fast and spewing paper towels all over the kitchen. I’d put an inertial reel inside the towel holder somewhat like the reel that keeps your auto seatbelt from unwinding too fast when you make a sudden stop or crash.
I’d invent a TV remote with an imbedded photoelectric cell and when the cell doesn’t get enough light, it sets off an alarm. That way, if the TV remote gets in among the bedclothes or falls down behind the seats in the sofa, it will let you know where it is.
I’d invent a dog collar that fires an anchor bolt and chain into the ground when your dog starts to run away and won’t come back. One press of a remote command device and the dog finds him or herself staked to the ground until you can catch up.
I’d invent a telephone/answering/fax machine that automatically shuts itself down at 9:00 p.m. At any time, however, it would detect and tell those annoying telephone marketers in the kindest possible way where to place their products so they do not become exposed to daylight.
I’d invent a grocery store cart that when left blocking the aisle sets off a loud siren and then broadcasts the name of the person who blocked the aisle out over the store’s public-address system. You see, when you grip the handle of the cart with your fingers, it reads your fingerprints, gets your name from the FBI files and then stores your name in memory just in case you block the aisle with your cart and you deserve to be publicly humiliated by a public-address announcement.
I’d invent a lighted sign for above the rear license plate that flashes banner messages in several foreign languages telling people who tailgate to “back-off.” This would be very useful in New York City or Washington, D.C. where taxi drivers are required to know Farsi but are forbidden to understand English.
I’d invent a limpet mine that detaches from your car and attaches, as they whiz by, to cars that don’t dim their high beams. To avoid innocent injuries or deaths, the limpet mine wouldn’t explode until the rude driver reaches his or her garage and shuts off the engine.
I’d invent a car with gas-filler ports on both sides. That way it wouldn’t make any difference which way you pull up to the gas-pump island.
I’d invent a limpet mine that attaches to cars that park at the gas-pump island in such a thoughtless way that they block access to the pumps by other motorists. It would work just like the limpet mine for those who don’t dim their high beams.
I’d invent a Happy Hour clock for the bar area that shows it is 5:00 p.m. in all the world’s time zones, all the time.
I suppose there are hundreds of other equally useful devices waiting to be invented. If the summer lasts long enough, maybe I’ll get around to inventing them as well.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today.