Now that we’ve owned a real house for about a year, I’ve thought up some essential products that no homeowner will want to be without, once somebody invents them.
Well, I didn’t think them up exactly; some Hollywood types did. But I’ve applied them to everyday suburban living. If you want to see the prototypes in actions, click the links.
1. Star Trek Phaser Bug Zapper. I can’t imagine why no one has invented this yet. I mean, it’s entertaining enough just listening to a conventional bug zapper do its work, but imagine how much fun it would be to sit on your deck firing phasers at mosquitos and flies! For even more laughs, set your phaser to stun and watch them stagger around like WASPs that have had too many martinis–except that they’re actual wasps! And don’t forget to use the interdimensional setting to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder…and this universe. Even Kirk didn’t have that!
2. Harry Potter Marauder’s Map Locator. You remember the map that told Harry where in Hogwarts everybody was? This is an app for your iPhone or iPad that tells you where everything in your house is. Can’t find your Phillips head screwdriver? Misplaced your reading glasses? Lost track of your baby? There’s an app for that.
3. Field of Dreams Repairman Summoner. You know how hard it is to get a plumber or an electrician to show up? Not when they’re hounded by whispering voices saying things like “If it leaks, you must go fix it.”
4. CSI Perpetrator Discovery Kit. “Who did this?” you, the frustrated parent, scream. “I don’t know,” says one kid. “Not me,” says the other. “Shut up, I’m watching TV,” yells your spouse. Now you don’t have to worry about whom to blame for the spill, or the broken appliance, or the maimed housekeeper. Just pull out your CSI Perpetrator Discovery Kit with its instant fingerprint and DNA analysis and its infrared footprint tracker to find the culprit. And when you do, be sure to use the Cool Hand Luke Rough Justice Kit to deal out the appropriate punishment.
5. Get Smart Cone of Silence Patio Cover. Rain coming? Don’t worry about collecting all your patio cushions. Just press a button and a clear plastic dome will descend over your entire deck or patio. Options include interior light, fan, and UV tint. And if there’s a sudden storm while you’re away from home, the Cone of Silence iPhone app will let you control your cover remotely. WARNING: Do not lower dome while using a barbecue or fire pit. And especially not while smoking pot, because that would turn your dome into a giant Volcano Vaporizer. Speaking of which…
6. Dante’s Peak Insta-Cue. From the volcano disaster movie with Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton that nobody saw because it came out at exactly the same time as another volcano disaster movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche comes the fastest, easiest barbecue grill ever made. Just load the meat, press the eruptor button, and watch as your steaks are instantly seared and automatically coated with a “lava” of barbecue sauce.
7. Rear Window Mail Retriever. This one’s a little obscure, so bear with me. In Hitchcock’s classic, there’s a woman who, instead of walking her dog like a normal person, lowers it from her window in a wicker basket. It gets out, pees, and hops back in, and then she hoists it up. At least until it hops out, digs up the corpse of Raymond Burr’s wife and gets its neck broken. The Rear Window Mail Retriever uses a similar pulley system to deliver the mail from your mailbox to your door, so you don’t have to worry about braving the weather, although there are days when your mail will get drenched en route. Or murdered.
8. Earthquake Leaf Collector. From the Charlton Heston disaster movie without monkeys or God comes the easiest way to clean up your yard in autumn. Once this device is installed, the earth on your property will open up every November, swallowing all the fallen leaves. No raking! No mulching! No blowing! No bagging! No house!
9. Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver. From the British TV series that’s been on more or less since television was invented comes the only all-purpose tool you need. It opens things, seals things and fixes things. Also performs medical scans and tracks alien life forms. Disclaimer: My daughter reminds me that Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver does not work on wood. I’m thinking that whoever invents one for the real world should correct that design flaw.
10. Groundhog Day DIY Undo. You know how, when you undertake a do-it-yourself job around the house, such as putting up some shelves, and you screw it up royally so that the shelves are so tilted anything you put on them slides off the end, so you take them all down and leave approximately 47 holes in the wall that you’re going to have to spackle, or else hide with knick-knacks if you can ever get the shelves up straight enough so that the knick-knacks stay where you put them? Not that it’s ever happened to me, but if it did, I’d wish I had the Groundhog Day DIY Undo which lets you begin the whole day again so you can get the job right this time, or call someone in to do it, possibly using your Field of Dreams Repairman Summoner.
Okay, all you inventors out there. Get to work on this stuff. I’ll let you know where to send the royalties.
See you soon.