One surefire way to come up with a good invention: Make life simpler. Make things easier, more convenient. But wouldn’t life be poorer without … peanuts in the shell? Leaves to rake? Snow to shovel? Novels and TV shows and sporting events that lead you on to the very end? Sudoku puzzles and Rubik’s Cubes? Sometimes we like to waste time. So try this mental exercise: What might benefit from disimprovement? Actually one of my best ideas, the Big Toe-Tappable Computer Keyboard, fits the bill. Typing with your feet sure isn’t faster, but it could be better for you. Gonna add whatever pops into my head:
Love-Making Puzzle Suits. Think buttons, zippers, belts and hooks interfere with passion? Turn patience into a virtue, and a game, with clothing that’s extra hard to remove. Could make for laughs, at least, while building anticipation.
Know what’s the epitome of excellent inconvenience? The parachute. Falling from the sky is definitely not something you want to do faster. (Or is it? Would be cool to have a Giant Inflatable Sky-Gliding Sled that falls fast, lands safely.) How about an extra, extra slow parachute? For an even longer ride? The Hot Air Parachute even goes back up!
Writing longhand sometimes taps your brain’s more creative side. So, what if writing was even slower? How? With the Super-Gigantic Two-Handed Pen. You use huge paper while standing, using arm power as well as brain power.
How about the Ten-Pound Super-Sized TV Remote? (a) No one could steal it or lose it. (b) You’d burn calories, especially with “button resistance” set on max.
Same idea for phones. Exercise just carrying that cordless. Or better yet: The Bungee-Corded Wall Phone. If you don’t tug with lots of might, it’ll spring right back into the wall.
Driving is too easy. So is flying. Or sitting down at work. So how about a Foot-Don’t-Rest? It’s a device with settings like Stomp, Step, Slide and Pedal. Your feet have to work to make little motions. Selling point: Easier than that Flintstones car.
Back to food. Cooking is work that can be satisfying. So instead of using genetic engineering to make cutting, chopping and peeling easier, do the reverse. Eggs with shells like coconuts. Watermelons With Frisbee Seeds.
The Bazooka-Proof Pinata.
Hey, how about a reality TV show: The Woman Who’s Not Just Playing Hard to Get. Damsel in distress. Well, not in any personal danger. But since she’s stuck atop a tower with no doors … and it’s surrounded by a croc-infested moat with no bridge … and that’s after the brambly quicksand-laden swamp … and you have to find her with no map … well, she’s pretty hard to get. A kind of Mission: Impossible reality show. Of course, some seasons, you’d reverse the genders … except maybe he’s on a couch in front of a football game with buddies, beers and babes. Get him to agree to forsake such pleasures. And use the Ten-Pound TV Remote and/or the Love-Making Puzzle Suit.