Bland Stuff

Fantastic Inventions

Lately I’ve caught myself replacing smart comments with cynicism in an effort to seem cool. As everyone who’s actually cool knows, that is annoying and toxic – not to mention transparent – so I’ve decided to cut that out by consciously making an effort to appreciate stuff that’s fantastic.

And, credit where credit is due, humans have thought up some cool stuff. Today, let’s think about words like ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit as we go through my TOP FIVE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN INVENTED.

Those white pens you can use instead of chalk on chalkboards

I don’t know if they have a specific name; when I was looking for the accompanying image, I googled chalk pens and was pleased with the results. Google did suggest I might also mean liquid chalk, but surely that refers to the stuff that fills the pen, not the actual pen itself. And, if I’m honest, I’m uninspired by the chalk ink on its own – surely that’s just tipex? The invention that knocks my socks off is the pen as a whole.

Friends, I have a dream. One day, in the far, far future, surrounded by animatronic great-grandchildren, I will settle down with a nostalgic coming-of-age classic set in a primary school of my youth. The protagonist, a scrawny, nerdy girl that resonates with me for reasons we don’t need to go into, will be summoned to the board to complete an impossible sum. 

Blushing and flicking an unfortunate fringe out of her face, our heroine will be frozen by the blackboard, chalk being ground into dust by her nervous fingers. When, under pressure from the watching pupils and authoritarian educator, she finally scrawls a hasty 19 in the empty part of the equation, the chalk will give way, snapping halfway through the tail of the 9 and scattering the board with an uneasy constellation of white spots. 

My grandchildren will turn to me, nonplussed. “What the shit was that?” they will ask.

I will smile, settle back into my automated rocking chair. Despite my grandchildren’s liberal use of four letter words, I am content. My life’s dream is complete: my descendants live in a world where chalk, that notorious bastard, has been rendered obsolete and blasted from the face of history. Truely, a happy day.

Zips

Because, and I mean this sincerely, I can’t think of a better way to close my jacket.

Also, zips are the forerunners of ziplocks, without which none of us would be able to take miniature bottles of shampoo on holiday.

This isn’t related, but I don’t understand why mini toothpastes are a thing. Like, normal sized toothpastes are well within the 100ml limit. The mini ones just increase your stress levels when you realise you’ve packed two brushes worth of toothpaste for an eighteen brush trip. But I digress.

Table hooks

like this, but permanently affixed to the table eg with a screw

really don’t know what these guys are actually called: table hooks is my best guess. The reason I’ve got no clue how to name them is because I’ve only ever encountered these little heroes On The Continent – that is, not on my native island of Britain.

Say what you like about Europe, but they do have bag storage down.

Table hooks are, and this might shock you, hooks attached to tables. From these hooks a sodden traveller can dangle, for example, a handbag or anorak to prevent the item from acting as a mop on a wet pub or cafe floor. Truly, an invention for the ages.

The system whereby the post office texts you to tell you about your parcel’s delivery status

Perhaps it’s overkill to call this an invention, but I’m a fan of it nonetheless. Instead of waiting for a physical leaflet that is vulnerable to all kinds of foul play (rain, jealous neighbour, angry dog), just wait for a cheeky text from your postie letting you know your boxset of NCIS is ready to be picked up. Every time this happens, I sit phone in hand, revelling in the majesty of the automated text message.

Reusable sunglasses

Honestly, those disposable ones were just wasteful.

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