• Carmen Marie Fabio

Mother of invention


It took an unpleasant incident while walking my dogs with my eldest son that rekindled an ongoing thought in my head about things that don’t exist – but should – to help us navigate our way through life with some unsavory characters and unpleasant situations.

Short of driving my dogs to a dog park, there’s only one road to walk them on which, despite the town’s efforts at speed control, still sees its share of speeders and idiot drivers who think it’s funny to scream at pedestrians as they speed by in their cars – unfortunately too fast for me to toss my plastic bag filled with dog poop. But I did get the plate number which reminded me of a friend who had a brilliant idea – license plates should also be the drivers’ cell phone numbers so you can call them to express your gentle opinion on their driving or offer helpful hints on how they could get through life without dragging their knuckles on the ground.

Or, maybe they just couldn’t see us and were screaming in desperation which leads to another idea – a windshield the thickness and strength of one’s myopia prescription, thus ensuring the driver can always see where he’s going.

The internet is replete with suggestions on things that don’t yet exist, but should, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Many folks mention a dog bark translator but, quite frankly, I already know what my dogs mean when they bark and it’s pretty much limited to warning us of a perceived threat. The high-pitched, frantic warbling and lower body wag is when the smaller of the two dogs hears the dried dog food hitting the stainless-steel bowl in the morning but is too excited to execute the two-foot jump off the bed.

A few other ideas I found made sense, at least to me. An edible popcorn bag, a dream-to-movie maker, and an in-store GPS for locating the items you keep wandering the aisles looking for.

We have windows on our front-loading washing machines, why not on dishwashers? And how about car windows that tint in the sun like photochromic eyeglass lenses do?

As a kid who used to buy 45rpm records, I came up with a brilliant plan – instead of some lame song for the flipside, how about a recording of the same song on the A-side without the voice track? That way, you could fulfill your rock star fantasies singing along to your favourite song. It took me years to realize that I’d invented Karaoke and by that time, some other dude had taken credit for it.

I still lay claim to the collapsible, latex, full-sized tree stump that you can keep in the trunk of your car. That way, when you’re trying to find a parking spot downtown and the only empty spots have fire hydrants, you simply pop open the faux tree stump, much like the old school top hats, and place it over the hydrant. Instant parking spot. If you get a ticket, just plead ignorance saying you didn’t know there was an actual hydrant there. With the money you save on the ticket, you can buy another stump to replace the one that just got confiscated.

I know. Brilliant, right?

But speaking of driving downtown, I’ve saved the best invention idea for last – a car horn that gets proportionately louder the longer you lean on it. You read it here first and if this becomes a thing, I want my financial cut.

I’m still nursing my Karaoke grudge.