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Inventions we don’t need

By Michael Howlett

June 19, 2014

Those crazy inventors are always at it, aren’t they? Yes, coming up with all kinds of unique gadgets and thingamajigs to make our lives better, striving to make their mark on society, and maybe make a million bucks while they’re at it. And who can blame them, we humans will buy just about anything.


Just look at Gary Dahl, who made $15 million in just six months with the greatest novelty item of all time, the Pet Rock. Then there was Bernard and Murray Spain, who made an estimated profit of $500 million off the Smiley Face, which, by the way, was sort of stolen from Harvey Ball, who drew the original sketch for a measly $45. Of course, I can’t write about ridiculous inventions that grossed a large amount of money without mentioning Joel Comm, who has made $400,000 off the iFart app. That’s right, farts sell in this country.


As for the aforementioned inventions, I didn’t buy a pet rock, I never cared much for the smiley face – I can be rather cranky, you know - and as for the iFart app, well, I can take care of that all by myself, thank you.


However, for every strange invention that is successful, there are many, many more that have failed miserably, like the Cigarette Umbrella. Invented in 1931, this contraption featured a small umbrella at the end of a cigarette holder that would allow the user to puff away while walking in the rain. Who thought of this idea? A circus clown, of course. Circus clowns are so silly.


In 1938, someone came up with the swell idea of a Gas-Shooting Riot Car. Say protestors have your panties in a wad; well, just mow them down with a massive fortified vehicle that shoots poisonous gas streams. Hey, problem solved, unless, of course, you respect human life. It was patented, but never built, much to the chagrin of Tricky Dick Nixon. It was right up his alley.


Then we have the Vacuum Beauty Helmet, which was brought to the public by a sadistic hairdresser in 1941. Here’s the deal, a plastic helmet was placed on a woman’s head. Then a beauty treatment was pumped in through an attached hose. There was only one drawback – suffocation. You had to get pretty real fast or die trying.


One of my favorites is the Flying Saucer Camera, which invented in the 1950s when UFO sightings were at record numbers. Now, you may laugh and ask in astonishment what fool thought this one up. Well, the fool was the U.S. Air Force, which came up with a special camera with two lenses. One lens took a normal photo, while the other separated light into colors so that the origins of the light would be obvious.


Now, we’ve had other strange inventions like Flying Tanks – yes, military intelligence at work once again – and Monowheel Vehicles, whereas a person rode inside one big tire. Great view, high possibility of death. However, for real strangeness we have to travel to the Far East and our friends in Japan. Now, the Japanese have been groundbreakers in several areas of invention, but they also get a little wacky at times. Okay, a lot of times.


One invention that caught my interest is the Hair Splash Protector, which is a rubber contraption that fits around a person’s face so that someone like me doesn’t get food in his hair while eating. Oh yes, that does happen. The Mistress of the Manor has suggested on several occasions that I need a body protector when eating. I eat with gusto.


Then there is the Lonely Woman Pillow and a Lonely Man Pillow. The woman’s pillow is shaped like half a man’s torso, complete with shirt, and an arm the lonely woman can wrap around her. The deluxe model has an attachment, but I won’t get into that just now. The man’s pillow is shaped like a woman’s lap. In this case the woman pillow is wearing a very short skirt and sitting with her legs tucked under her. I really, really want to say something else here, but decency prevents me.


Other Japanese inventions include the Mobile Toilet Paper Dispenser, which is worn on a person’s head for quick access, and the Easy Ear Explorer, which looks like a camera with a plastic cord, complete with lens, attached so a person may spy any wax buildup. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Toilet Cushion, which is a product for men.


While you may think this is a product for a man who suffers from hemorrhoids, it is not. This is a product for the man who is so darn lazy that he can’t stand up to urinate. Yes, this is a cushion that is placed in front of the toilet so a man can kneel on it while taking care of business. I don’t know the name of the nutcase who invented this, but he is either the laziest man on Earth or he has a prostate gland the size of a watermelon.