Sometimes I see an invention and I think, “Okay, that has to be the dumbest thing I ever saw.” But, upon further reflection, I realize that it might actually be genius. I guess genius sometimes comes disguised as stupid inventions. Take, for instance, these slippers I found in my mom’s latest Current Catalog.
But wait! They aren’t just slippers. They are mop slippers. Sure they’re ugly and probably pose a dangerous slipping risk, but think of all the time you’ll save! I’m all about combining efficiency with style!
As I pondered what a great invention these actually were and other ways to combine efficiency with style, my free-associating mind wandered back to the 4th Grade Science and Invention Fair that we were all required to participate in. That was the first year that I got my glasses and they were always dirty. So I thought it would be cool to mount washing fluid on top of the lenses and tape a package of camera lens wipes to the side. This way, when the wearer’s glasses got dirty (this only worked if they were dirty from the outside, if you got mascara on the inside, then you would apparently be SOL), he or she needed only to remove the lid from the conveniently located fluid, squirt some on the lenses, and then grab a w ipe and dry them off!
Seriously. Does anything sound cooler than walking around with 2 bottles of eyeglass cleaner glued to your glasses? Well, maybe pocket protectors are cooler. Oh yeah, and my graphing calculator with the belt loop on the case. But other than that. My dad helped me construct this wonder of 4th grade invention – he never said a word that maybe this was a little goofy. He was either very supportive or very nerdy. I’ll go with supportive since he’s always supported anything I’ve wanted to try. Except for the whole broom fiasco, but that’s a story for a different day.
So my cool 4th grade self with the poodle haircut anxiously awaited the big day when I would present my marvelous invention to the 4th grade masses. Our teacher was even going to video tape us! (It was the late 80’s, VHS was totally in.) When Miss Clark called my name, I donned my teal colored sunglasses (for some strange reason, my parents wouldn’t let me alter the regular glasses they had just purchased for me – haters) and confidently walked to the front of the class. I still remember what I was wearing. Tight-rolled stone washed jeans, a teal colored State Ballet of Missouri sweatshirt and high top Reeboks.
I explained how my invention (strangely, I can’t remember what I called it – probably something cool like “Self Cleaning Glasses”) would save the user endless hours of rummaging through purses/briefcases/etc. searching for cleaner and towels, unscrewed the cap, leaned my head back, squeezed the bottle ever so gently … But I apparently miscalculated the force required to squeeze out an appropriate amount of fluid (this would not be my last terrible miscalculation in a science experiment but it was one of my first). I gloriously squirted about half the bottle of fluid straight into … … … my mouth. On camera.
Can you just imagine the face I made? All the kids were rolling with laughter; except the ones who were just sitting there looking confused of course. If I remember correctly, I got an A. I’m sure the grade was more for my willingness to suffer the consequences of eyeglass cleaning fluid poisoning in order to further the cause of scientific inventions than it was for the smashing success of my invention.
Sometimes I wonder whatever became of that video tape. I hope it got destroyed in some natural disaster. To this day, I’m sure that tape is 90% of the reason that I am terrified of having myself video taped.