When I was about five years old, I learned to swim underwater before I could swim above water. The only problem was I couldn’t swim for long because I couldn’t breathe. I had to keep resurfacing for air, but I couldn’t swim up there with my head out of the water. So I alternated between swimming but not breathing underwater, and flailing helplessly while gulping air at the surface. This was neither an efficient nor an attractive way of swimming.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, so I invented the snorkel. I figured I could swim underwater for hours if I kept a straw in my mouth. The straw would have to be bent upwards, so the other end would be above water.
I never actually tried it; it was purely a theoretical invention, just like all my other inventions.
I also invented stick-on nipples for mannequins. It used to be that mannequins never had erect nipples. Maybe people thought that would be vulgar or something. But then suddenly – I think it was in the 80s, but maybe the 70s – mannequins got sexier, and all the stores rushed to buy the hot new erect-nippled mannequins. It occurred to me it would be a lot cheaper and easier just to transform the old mannequins into new mannequins by inventing stick-on nipples. I never did anything about it, and before you knew it, the transformation period was over, and that window of entrepreneurial opportunity closed.
What else did I invent? The ring watch. Instead of taking up a whole wrist, a watch could be set into a ring. Of course, I invented this concept when I had much younger eyes. Nowadays I’d need to carry around a magnifying glass to read a watch ring. The weirdest thing was that the day after I came up with the idea of the watch ring, I saw someone wearing one. Not only that, but it was the ONLY time – before or since – that I ever saw a ring watch.
As you can see, I wasn’t the first to invent some of my inventions. But I was the first to come up with the idea of Car Shrinker. It’s a magic liquid that is dispensed drop by drop from a bottle. You drive wherever you’re going, apply a few drops, then put your little car in your pocket. No more searching for parking spots, no more parking tickets. When you’re finished whatever you’re doing, you use drops from a second bottle to re-expand your car.
Some people actually go beyond the conceptual stages of invention, and create prototypes. My grandfather, for instance, invented Christmas in a Frame. When he died we found the prototypes and copies of correspondence between him and the Patent Office. (It all came to naught, I’m afraid. But at least he tried.)
And I used to have a friend, many years ago, who invented the Odorless Cat Litter Box. Since I had five cats at the time (Mr. Jones, Catastrophe, Mean Joe, Screamer and Beethoven) I got to test all his prototypes as they evolved. With each new iteration he added hooding or screens or extra levels or baking soda or neutralizers. He spent a lot of money refining his invention, building prototypes, and trying to get it patented, but the Odorless Cat Litter Box was, sadly, not really odorless.
So. What have you invented?