Monday, January 28, 2008

The Inventor

    I tell you, sir: there is a certain method to inventing. You cannot rely upon good fortune or inspiration; you'd never get anywhere that way. You first must know exactly what it is that you want to invent. Most inventors invent something, and only then think about what it's good for, and lastly they give it a name. I've turned this technique on its head, sir: as for me, I invent the name first of all, and then I design a suitable thing for that name; in this manner I have arrived at a completely new source of technical inspiration. From words to things: that is my method.
    Wait a moment, what if I gave you a clear example. For example, people have work rooms, waiting rooms, rooms for lodging, display rooms and places like that. We have waiting rooms, but modern man has no time for waiting: his motto is quickness, speed, tempo. I say, why not therefore set up a hurrying room? A well-furnished hurrying room would of course have a whole array of quickeners and celeritators, thrusters, automatizers, noisemakers and clankers; I already have patents filed for various gnashers, crepitators, interruptors and falterers--new inventions and devices, sir, that no one else has thought of yet. That's it in its entirety: new words must be invented to arrive at new things and new solutions.
    Or take this: we already have chutes and even drop testers: but it hasn't yet occurred to anyone to create a faller--a thing which would constantly fall in all circumstances. Why is it that only vases, statues, and other domestic articles can fall on you? But a faller! It falls, guaranteed! Try it and you'll like it! I'll also throw in these slicers and choppers in various settings, and klaxons in all size, luxuriously appointed. Are your buttons sometimes loose on your shirt? Buy our patented debuttoner soon! It will loosen things for the whole family.
    Parents, buy the Stainamatic for your children! Save them work in soiling their clothes! Stainamatic with a whole box of Stain Stix, only thirty crowns. Our modern overcooker belongs in every modern kitchen. Do you have our tie-tier, our lace-lacer or our wrinkler yet? We recommend our fully automatic Procrastinator for all companies and offices. No modern home can lack our highly efficient Shatterizer and the reliable, precise Nap-Mate! Take naps at every opportunity!
    Do you ever make mistakes? Certainly you do, for to err is human. But why should you have to take the time to make mistakes? Our patented, trademarked errorizer will make mistakes for you! Our new model FV 1303 makes up to 699 mistakes a day! -- Are you preparing for a trip? Don't forget to pack a pocket Wanderer! Cheap, reliable, practical. -- Do you do nothing? If so, buy our "Nothing Doing" machine! Quiet operation, low operating cost. Patented in all counties. -- Give your loved ones their new favorite toy for Christmas, the Dull-Max! A fantastic source of boredom! -- Do you already have our Mangler? Indispensable for schools, offices, large firms and even households. -- The most sensational invention of our time: the standing wheel! A wheel which refuses to turn! New! We recommend it for all factories crippled by strikes! -- No more losses! Our new, inexpensive Vanisher takes care of your greatest problems, or try our nickel-plated Disappearer! For a greater volume, we recommend our mechanical Lose-Max or the highly efficient, self-regulating Auto-Loser, reliably losing even the largest items. -- Buy our universal distractor! It will distract you guaranteed, at home or abroad, at work or in your spare time. --Do you stammer? Buy our Stammer-Be-Gone in powder or pill form. You will stammer without worry. Doctor recommended. Thousands of satisfied customers. --You are nervous. Your nerves are fatigued by the same racket which is the curse of our age. Order one of our new silencers! The silencer is a machine which never makes a single sound. The latest silencer in a beautiful mahogany case, electrically wired, only 1,795 crowns. The last word in radio technology!
    Yes sir, that is how it is done. Find a new word, and then it is rather easy to engineer a reality to suit it. That's what I call scientific progress, sir. I bow to you, sir, but I have no time: right now I'm working on a universal destroyer. I should be able to do fantastic business in that, right?

LN, 15 March 1936

1 comment:

Jonathan K. Cohen said...

The functions of the Distractor and Procrastinator have since been merged into the modern computer. For that matter, the same is true of the Errorizer.