Month: April 2019

My Brilliant Invention

My Brilliant Invention

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We’re closing shop. The business that we sank all our hopes and dreams and countless hours of efforts into is now tottering on its last legs. Fire sale time. Everything must go! Our loss, your gain! No reasonable offer refused!

You would have thought a machine and a drug regimen that would enable a person to learn to play a musical instrument or master a foreign language in two weeks would have caught on. It really worked! No hype, no false promises, no inflated expectations were involved. It really worked, was reasonably priced, and still no one cared. When I gave my harpsichord recital, people just assumed I had been playing complicated baroque keyboard music for years. When I conversed in Romanian with virtually no detectable accent, people assumed I had been born there.

Who would have thought that a few powerful magnets arranged in a precise configuration and a healthy dose of lithium aspartate could have engendered such rapid progress? Sure, you can use more magnets than the ones we used, you can substitute the more common lithium carbonate salt for the aspartate, but it doesn’t matter much one way or the other. The fact remains that this was an enormous breakthrough, and still I lost my shirt.

I am not, however, defeated. Now that I know what I know, it’s only a matter of successfully marketing the innovation. Millions of people want to learn to play musical instruments, hundreds of millions more want to learn foreign languages. If they learn them, they will be much more employable. There is a need, and I can fill that need, if I can let customers know about my discovery.

Oh sure, we had a few setbacks early on. That woman who took ten times the recommended dose of lithium and then went into a coma. The man who made his own electromagnets and then stuck them in his ears. He was using high-voltage, alternating current. Our magnets are permanent neodymium magnets with a set polarity,

Both of these people died agonizing deaths, and their families tried to sue us. Fortunately, their personal injury lawyers saw that we had no money so declined to even begin the lawsuits. Right or wrong doesn’t matter so much in these matters, but deep pockets attract lawyers like flies to honey. The fact that these people refused to follow our instructions or recommendations became secondary and moot.

The fact is, I don’t have to play by the same rules as do others. I can forego the rigors, expense and time demanded by scientific testing. Double-blind studies are cumbersome. Rather than encourage researchers, they pose a formidable obstacle to enthusiasts and those inspired to take an alternative course. Why not just free ourselves, unfurl our golden wings and fly? Why not let the proof lie in the pudding?

Years from now, someone will prove the merits to my system and explain just how it works. Even though at this time I can’t tell you why it works, I can assure you that it does.

Let me also assure you that I’m not the kind of “mad scientist” who would test his theories on others first. No, every procedure I’ve championed has first been performed on me. That hole at the top of my skull, which the ancient Egyptians swore was the solution to many an ailment, I experienced first hand. Of course, I sterilized the drill bit and with the aid of an overhead mirror managed to avoid drilling past the skull and into the brain itself. When it doubt, proceed with caution, especially when you’re talking brain surgery.

And the radioactive insoles not only cured athlete’s foot, but gave a spring to my step that lasted for months after I stopped wearing them. The only thing that tempered my enthusiasm for that product was the puzzling drop in white cell count that mimicked the early stages of leukemia. I though it best to sideline that specific innovation until I could find more time for testing.

I am not foolhardy, but rather try my best to balance diligence with inspiration. One has to follow one’s hunches whenever possible. I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating Edison’s quote about inspiration vs. perspiration, but I would like to say that without inspiration, progress is impossible. A demand of novelty in the marketplace does not drive innovation.

My critics accuse me of being a huckster, a snake-oil salesman. Few praise or encourage me. If it weren’t for the loyal fan base I’ve built up through years of daring to help those whom regular science ignores, I would have given up long ago.

I am not foolhardy, but rather try my best to balance diligence with inspiration. One has to follow one’s hunches whenever possible. I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating Edison’s quote about inspiration vs. perspiration, but I would like to say that without inspiration, progress is impossible. A demand of novelty in the marketplace does not drive innovation.

My critics refuse to recognize that I’m a good person. More than becoming rich or celebrated, I want to help those in need. My gifts are especially useful in certain areas…medicine, education, the performing arts.

Speaking of the arts, I recently attended a show called the “Sexy and Pretty Show.” It’s an odd mixture of karaoke and erotic dance, and the performers are a mix of real women and transvestites. There may be a few straight men in the cast, but if so, they escaped my attention.

As far as I could tell, there was no story to drive the action, no plot, no central characters, but simply a pastiche of production numbers, some more effective than others. The finale involved every person in the cast coming on stage and disrobing, often removing stuffed bras and tightly bound genitalia. The wigs were the first to be discarded, and there were plenty of them.

Then they all lip-synched a song played at such volume that the lyrics were completely distorted, but one whose emotional import caused both audience and cast members to weep openly.

Bad Idea Realized

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I only took her in because she had nowhere to go and she was beautiful. It as apparent early on that she was also deeply insane. She talked to people who weren’t there, often getting in arguments with them.

She had once been highly functional and even today speaks five languages. She argues with spirits in those languages. She also lives in the bushes and when she’s menstruating, you can see where she’s been by the fact that she leaves a trail of dried blood spots behind.

Back in the days when she worked and had various foreign boyfriends she was even better looking that she is now, but people who knew her then give her wide berth now, afraid she will recognize them and attack them in pubic. I let her stay in my garage. She comes in to use the bathroom and bathe, but she keeps her bag of food and clothing in the garage. I know when she’s home because I can hear her talking in there.

We don’t have sex. Well, I should say we haven’t had sex yet and I have no plan to have sex with her, but I’m not making any promises. If she were acting less crazy for a while and approached me in the right frame of mind…well, who knows what might happen. As for now, I’ll let her stay in the garage a while longer. Until my wife comes back from her trip.

Oh, I forgot to mention my wife. She’s gone a lot. Buying and selling real estate abroad. I’m pretty sure she’d hit the roof if she knew I was letting a crazy, homeless woman sleep in the garage.

I lock the front door at night, but if she were to knock softly and seem sane, I’d let her in. Of course I would. In fact, some nights I find it hard to sleep because I’m waiting for that soft knock. In the ten days she’s been here, I haven’t heard it yet. I notice that she urinates into a plastic wash tub and then pours it down the laundry drain in the morning.

She’s really no trouble. Or at least that’s what I thought until I found her one night in bed with me.

We were both naked. I had just been dreaming about her, and making love turned out to be unusually intense. I don’t think I’d had such an orgasm in many years. As we were lying there afterwards, I heard her talking in French to someone in the corner of the room. I sat up in bed and strained to see if I could discern someone in the dark. There did seem to be something there, maybe just a patch of more intense darkness. Eventually, I fell asleep, lulled by her talking in a language in couldn’t understand.

The next morning she was speaking Chinese to someone outside. But when I looked out the window I could see she was alone. As pleasurable as our sex had been, I must admit I was worried about where this was headed.

Now that she comes and goes into the house itself, I’ve seen more of her behavior which disturbs me. She eats salamanders and strange, odoriferous plants. She rocks back and forth and sings the same droning song for hours, while rubbing what seems to be blood on her legs and feet. Whose blood, I haven’t a clue.

When my wife comes home, she’ll have to leave. Before my wife gets home. I’ll need help cleaning the place. I know the neighbors hire someone, maybe that girl can come over, but my problem is compounded by the fact that I can’t get a hold of my wife and can’t remember when she said she’d be back from this trip. It might be sooner than I think. Maybe I’d ought to act now. But then I’d lose the exciting sex because this crazy girl will not go quietly.

You’d think I should have seen this coming. I’ve been around the block a few times, and usually I know the score. I guess I just got lonely and horny. I never make good decisions when I’m that way. All the bad decisions I’ve ever made have come from when I’ve been sex deprived.

When I told her she’d have to go she merely laughed at me. Then we had sex. In this heightened emotional state, sex was more intense than ever! I began to fear that I’m in over my head, that I lack the strength and decisiveness to avoid disaster. Maybe I should leave. I’ll rent a room somewhere and monitor the situation from afar. Cowardly, yes, but at least it would give me the option to play the role of the innocent victim.

That’s it, I was called away on business and had made the mistake of being nice to this homeless lady I met in our neighborhood. She must have seen me leave with my bags packed and broken into our house.

I was packing my bag when the crazy lady entered the bedroom. “Where you go?” she asked.

“Away on business.”

“When you return?”

“Not sure.”

“Your wife say you take care of me. How you take care of me if you go?”

“My wife said what?”

“She tell me to come here because she go away for long time.”

“You’ve been talking to my wife?”

“Yes, she say you lonely, horny guy. Need woman around.”

“How did you meet my wife?”

“She give me money one day. Find me sleeping in park. Buy me things. Nice lady. Too bad she bored with you.”

I stopped packing. If this was true, then it changed everything. Even if it weren’t true, it changed the way I felt about what I’m doing. I needed time to think.

She was speaking in German to an invisible person behind the refrigerator when I left the house. I’d be back. I wasn’t sure when, but I’d be back as soon as I got horny enough.

THAT WHICH I SHOULD HAVE DONE I DID NOT DO

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It’s romantic to think that we’re compelled by Fate to live the way we do, where we are, with whom we spend our time. Actually, every aspect of our circumstances has arisen from choices we have made and are currently making. Most choices are ultimately between life and death. We choose to struggle or to die. Sometimes they don’t seem so stark, but ultimately they are about that. One road leads to life, the other to the grave. One is yes, the other no.

It’s easier to pretend this is not the case, and that we are not wholly responsible for the twists and turns we make. We are compelled by forces greater than our will. At this level, we are victims.

That’s simply not the case. In a short time frame our lack of power seems great, but from the vantage point of a sufficient amount of time, it’s obvious that it’s all up to us.

Sometimes I feel like I’m all washed up. Whatever opportunities to succeed I once enjoyed I squandered. That comes from the flip side of this same dilemma. I’m taking too long a view, and not noticing the opportunities that surround me every day. I’m pissing on the present because it’s easier than really trying.

Harboring remorse is a form of laziness.

 

Waiting for Recognition

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All my life I’ve pretended to be a genius, and treated myself as if I were one, expecting others to climb on board as soon as the truth is generally known. Now that I’m approaching my 69th birthday, it occurs to me that maybe I have been presumptuous. Mistaken. Maybe I’m just a moderately talented person, bright and quick in certain areas, but not in others. The reason I’m not better known is because I’ve been lazy and unfocused for most of my adult life.

The irritation I felt with the world for not recognizing and honoring my prowess has been very real, and constant. I’ve been waiting for that call from the MacArthur Foundation for some time now. The knock on the door announcing a telegram from the Nobel Prize Committee. I get many more emails from Nigerian princes who want to share their wealth with me than I do announcements of legitimate awards.

As I write this I’m listening to a YouTube video of Yo-Yo Ma playing a Bach cello concerto. Bach wrote more music than almost anyone else, besides maybe Handel. Bach had twenty children and Handel was probably gay. Born within a few miles of each other in Germany, only a few years apart, they both enjoyed illustrious careers that involved plenty of hard work and diligence. Yo-Yo Ma didn’t get as good as he is on the cello without putting in plenty of practice hours.

I whip out four or five YouTube videos a day. Nobody much responds to them. They’re just floating in an electromagnetic sea with a few billion other videos, all hoping for someone to notice and “like” them.