Did I Mention My Invention Convention?
by Stephanie D. Lewis
If you can’t be a famous Blogger, you might as well become a well-known inventor, right? I come from a long line of innovative Idea People. In fact my great, great grandmother was the first person to cook her stuffing INSIDE the turkey at Thanksgiving. You can thank her for having one less pot to wash each year.
But every time I come up with something mega clever, I Google it and sure enough, someone has already beaten me to it. And with wild success, I might add. Are there no more original ideas left?
Complaining to my attorney friend (who always has a runny nose and never any tissues) that I can’t afford to patent or register/trademark my ingenuity, he told me all I need do is write down my idea, mail it to myself through the U.S. postal service and save the unopened envelope. He then sneezed and wiped it on his sleeve. Eww. I wrote down, “Man’s necktie made out of handkerchief material,” sent it off and when it arrived, I stuck it unopened in my sock drawer. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeasy! (I invented that phrase, by the way.)
Before I get to my sock drawer day in court, here are some of the other inventions I’ve had and the people who’ve ruined them.
1. Prego Poetry — The first time I was “with child,” I decided it would be nifty to market a book of poetry, specifically designed for reciting to a woman’s pregnant abdomen. The book came with a special microphone that brought the words straight to the ears of the developing baby as it was held up like a reverse stethoscope to the mother’s tummy. There were calming and self-esteem enhancing rhymes like, “Dear baby fetus, we can’t wait till you meet us!” or “We hope you’ll be kind, smart and cuter than us, when you decide to emerge from the uterus.” This invention backfired when my ex-husband reported that all his sports-nut buddies used the uterine mic to shout football scores into their wive’s stomaches, startling all the unborn babies, and thus defeating the purpose.
2. The Tush Cush — When my twins began to toddle around on our hardwood floors, I noticed their little bottoms became bruised from falling down so much. Of course this led to a cute animal-shaped pillow that velcroed onto the rear of baby’s little rompers. It was my fantasy to sell the Tush Cush to a company called Osh Kosh to softly pad every child’s rear end across America. I could just see my face plastered in every Sears catalogue. Then my 2nd ex husband pointed out that a competitor came up with something brilliant that would pull the rug right out from under me. It was called, “Carpet.”
3. Embracelets — After scratching my daughter on the face with my crystal bangle during a snuggling session, the idea of soft velvet jewelry shields was born. To protect children during hugs. I called these covers “Embracelets,” and though they were kinda ugly, they slipped easily over your wrist to guard against sharp bling. My mother smiled smugly and said simply, “Of course you could just invent removable jewelry.” Darn her!
4. The Zoom Room Broom! — A ride-on toy that vacuums as the child scoots it across the floor. Phenomenal! “Aren’t babies afraid of vacuum noise?” my nosy girlfriend Tiffany asked, luckily before I spent hundreds on prototypes. I then switched to the “Crawl-a-Mop” but as you can see below:
5. It’s High Time You Climb! — This was a portable staircase that could hook up to a changing table or a crib so if you had a bad back, you needn’t lift a heavy baby. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but by the time a child can climb stairs, wouldn’t he be using a toilet and sleeping in a regular bed?” asked some know-it-all teacher at my kid’s preschool.
6. The Teddy Placenta — A cute bear to cuddle with. Nobody wanted to part with their baby’s precious placenta — they were all saving it for some silly cord blood banking gimmick.
7. The No Crawl In the Stall, Hang From The Wall Shawl — What holds your baby when you need to pee in a public restroom? (Certainly you don’t want them crawling on that dirty floor!) A shawl with a large pouch that hangs on the bathroom stall’s purse hook, that’s what! Okay, so there were a few liability issues.
8. The Why You Cry? — An electronic gadget that analyzed baby’s screams and could tell you if he was hungry, tired or sick. Instead it kept reporting, “Nothing is wrong. It’s just your genetics!”
Then came my crowning glory. I knew this one would make millions!
9. The Activi-Tee — A blouse for new mothers which had toys, rattles, buttons, and colorful spinning wheels sewn on the front. New mothers wear it to keep their infants busy when they have to sit on their laps for long periods of time, like at a doctor’s office or the DMV (because us moms always have to go to the DMV, don’t we?) or anytime you need to keep them occupied.
I made a sample shirt, gave it to my friend Tiffany (she’s obnoxious but gorgeous!) to wear one morning when she lost her childcare and had to bring her baby to the office. She told me the shirt worked okay, but might need a little work. Next thing I know, there’s a big advertisement in a parenting magazine for MY shirt. It’s MINE. They changed the name to “Busy Bee Tee,” but we all know what’s going down here, don’t we??
I file a lawsuit and rush down to small claim’s court with my sock drawer full of envelopes, triumphantly waving them in front of the judge’s nose (which is runny, btw) as he puts on his glasses and begins to peruse my claim to fame.
Oh yeah. And I bring Tiffany as my eyewitness.
Judge Herb ItAllBefore asks the
plagiarizer/thief, defendant, where she was when she first conceived of this tee-shirt idea. She states, “The DMV.” I snort loudly. Right, like how many moms frequent the DMV?
“It seems the plaintiff is a little mixed up in these matters,” says Judge Herb, wrinkling his brow while holding up my envelopes. “The idea is not to open your self-addressed stamped envelope, read the contents and then write yourself a flattering letter back, complementing your clever idea.”
“I was lonely that day,” I defended. “Haven’t you ever laughed at your own jokes?”
“That’s different. I’m funny.” He frowns. “In this letter here, you even remind yourself to buy more postage stamps and orange juice. And in this letter here, you’ve mailed yourself the Serenity Prayer.” He sneezes — it comes out sounding like “Fruitcake.”
I wisely decide not to offer him my necktie made out of a handkerchief.
“Will HER Endeavor Ever Be As Clever? Never!!”
He then asks to see my prototype, which Tiffany had the good sense to wear. She models it, flaunting her well-proportioned body in front of the cute bailiff.
“I’m sorry,” Judge Herb says, “But I think the defendant has built a better mousetrap.” I shudder because I hate rodents.
“But your Honor,” I interrupt. “All she did was reinvent the wheel.”
“Well, at least she didn’t sew two colorful, spinning wheels right over her friend’s nipples!” he points and everyone stares. I look at Tiffany, still parading around the courtroom and she mouths, “Told you it needed some work.”
“I’ve made my decision,” he says firmly, raising his gavel. “You’re a nut who has conversations with yourself via the U.S. Postal Service. You’re menopausal and probably having a mid-life crisis. And you went through all of this just to get some good blogging material, didn’t you??”
“Guilty as charged,” I say as I log onto WordPress and begin to furiously type. Who wants to be an inventor?? I’m gonna be a famous blogger…
Stephanie D. Lewis pens a humor blog called Once Upon Your Prime. Her work has been featured on BLUNTmoms, In The Powder Room, BlogHer, Midlife Blvd, Erma Bombeck, Say It With a Bang and local print publications. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and you can follow her on Twitter @MissMenopause. A single mother of six, she’ll pass on a full time nanny, but definitely needs a live-in psychiatrist. Oh and check out her novel on Amazon, “Lullabies & Alibis” about marriage, motherhood, and madness, with strong emphasis on the latter.