Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015--Fridays at the Bristol Diner--Not In a Million Years

We were having coffee at the Bristol Diner with our good friend, John.

"Just the other day I reread your blog from last March about an idea you had for a new invention."

"I don't remember that one," I said.

"I thought it was one of your best. Not the invention part but the blog itself." He winked at me. "The one about a universal credit card where people could consolidate all their credit and bank and store cards on one card so they wouldn't have to carry around a fistful of them."

"Now I remember. It's the one about how since I know nothing about computing or IT or anything electronic I ran the idea by a very young friend who builds software to see what he thought."

"Yes. And how he got back to you in less than a day with a whole big long list of things about how there may be something already that does this and that if you want to come up with a viable idea you need to think about what he called pain points."

"Yeah. And then I wrote about how when Rona heard about his response she chimed in and shared her thoughts about how, if I want to think about pain points, I should think about the pain of being left behind by his generation and feeling out of it. Etcetera. Etcetera."

"Out of it indeed. That defines you and . . . me."

To shift the conversation away from the depressing, I said, "On the subject of inventions, I have another one for you."

"Here we go," Rona sighed, now concentrating fully on her coffee.

"When I told you about it the other day," I directed this to Rona, "you thought it was a good idea. Maybe not ready for Shark Tank, but at least decent." She continued to pretend to ignore me.

"So what's this one?" John asked.

"You used to be a house painter, right?" He nodded, thinking back 40 years. "When you first got here." He nodded again. "Well, we had painters around last week to paint our renovated front porch and to do touch-up work on the rest of the house. They primed everything, then put on two coats of paint, and for the decking, stain. They used three different paint colors and then there was the stain."

"And?" John asked, checking his watch. He needed to get to his office.

"So I was thinking, how about inventing and of course patenting a four-in-one paint caddie?"

"A what?"

"A paint caddie. You know, it would be one piece but made up of four separate cups attached to each other and in each one you'd put a little of the three or four paints or stains you're using. It would have a handle for the whole contraption to make it easy to carry around and in each cup you'd also have a paint brush."

I noticed John beginning to smile, thinking I was really onto something.

Feeling excited, I said, "This would save all sorts of time as you moved from place to place to put some gray paint on the lattice, then some white on the trim, and in the third cup you'd put some stain. Etcetera."

His smile had broadened, but this time I noticed a glimmer of skepticism.

"Pretty good, right?" I nonetheless offered hopefully.

"Not in a million years," he finally said, friendly in spite of how he expressed his opinion.

"But wouldn't you as a painter feel that . . . ?"

"Not in a million years," he repeated, this time more full voiced. "That's the opposite of the way painters paint. I mean real painters." I knew that excluded me. By then Rona was in her full glory, egging him on.

But wouldn't . . . ?"

"As I said," he opted not to say again what he had said, but did say, "First of all you'd have to have three or four brushes always sittin' in paint. Not a good thing. And then, more important, real painters," he emphasized that again, "Real painters have their own ways of doing things. We, I mean they take pride in doing things their own way, including being very messy. Have you ever noticed that they wear white coveralls? That's for a reason. They're not into efficiency. They fancy themselves creative types. I could go on, but I have to run."

With that he popped up out of the booth.

"But what about people who are not real painters? Wouldn't this . . ."

"About them I wouldn't know," he said over his shoulder, racing to the door.

"But at least," deflated, I said to Rona, "he liked the idea about the universal credit card."

"Not the idea," Rona enjoyed reminding me, "But how you told the story."

"But at least I gave him a few laughs."

"Not that many," she said.

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