Inventions that Aren’t and Should Never Be

by Marjorie Dorfman

Have you ever thought about patenting an idea that has been milling around in your brain for years? Do you wonder what would happen if you ever could? Read on for a treatise about another potential can of worms.

Inventors come from all walks of life. Some are trained engineers or scientists, but many others are everyday people working at mundane jobs. An inventor can be anyone who looks at a problematic situation and comes up with a solution. That would mean people like you, dear reader and me. But what do you do with that momentous idea that is bursting to be free from your tormented brain? It might have been Orson Welles who said, "We will sell no idea (or was it wine?) before its time", but I would suggest that we all keep some of our ideas to ourselves for all time! Read on if you dare.

The following inventions have never been and as Martha Stewart says, that’s probably a good thing. Only you can judge their relevance to your own life, but if you can find a place for them somewhere, don’t let me know, whatever you do.

My mother, who owned several French Poodles, came up with the idea to create hairpieces for dogs! She waited until we were alone one day and in sotto voce made me swear never to tell a soul, for fear someone would steal her idea. What this would have accomplished is still a moot point. (Perhaps she sold state secrets to the enemy, or maybe her dogs did, disguised underneath their toupees!) My late friend, David, shared his invention of the century, when he told me over a cocktail about his special timer device which ties shoelaces while you wait! My personal contribution to this exposé is the "restaurant crane," which hoists sated diners from their seats (after they’ve paid the bill of course) and straight into their cars! (In this case, "Hoist" puts you in the driver’s seat and not that company with the similar name.)

If you think these are far out, consider some of the following totally absurd inventions, which can be found at the web site of the very same name, Totally Absurd Inventions. Check out their latest addition, Sponge Bob Foot Pads. You put them on your feet and shuffle off to Buffalo or anywhere else you like across a freshly mopped floor. Strap on the pads as you mop and as you mop, you dry! Can you possibly live without this? If you think so, what about the urinal with a speaker and video screen attached to it? No, well, you might want to buy the all terrain baby stroller, the bicycle with its own built-in umbrella, the airplane that converts into a car, edible plates, and/or the iron stand that turns into a hot plate.

What’s that you say? Not for you? Well, how about a set of disposable brains, for those times when you are unhappy with your frame of mind? Or maybe inner, outer and other selves (belly buttons for sale and rent) or a clothes hanger that will only accommodate designer labels for the more discerning shopper? Could your style be more a knife with a rusty blade to curtail hostility or give as a gift to a suicidal friend? Consider also disposable library cards to throw away with the book after you’ve finished reading it to save time and energy. For the gourmands among us, what about a mousetrap for the cheese connoisseur and its sister company, which specializes in cheeses for the mouse connoisseur? Perhaps you are of the more superstitious ilk. If so, you might enjoy the new salt shaker that will only pour if you toss it over your left shoulder. How about a lobster cracker that bites back? Isn’t that the most perfect gift for those of us who are too shellfish to remember that lobsters have feelings too? What about a bed that makes itself five minutes after you rise? Covers unscramble, pillows fluff and whatever you do, don’t sleep late. Economical because you never need an alarm clock. Available in green only.

Have you heard enough? I hope so because I am depleted of creative suggestions about inventions that aren’t and should never be. Bear in mind there are many others, all at the rim of recall for the more creative and adventurous among us. Pursue these ideas if they come to you. They are part of the dream force the universe gives to all of us that cannot and should not ever be ignored. Who knows what could happen to your idea? I don’t care, just as long as you leave me alone. Maybe my friend’s shoe lace timer or one of your ideas will be the rage of another generation, the device of the century. That’s food for thought tomorrow. At least it's not around today. And that, as I said before, can only be a good thing.

Did you know . . .

Copyright 2004