Saturday, June 05, 2004

Liquid Fantast Part II

This was written a couple of weeks after it's predecessor...

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a great idea that I had. Well, now I have a new idea, and it’s to forget about the old one.

As many of you may remember, I thought up a wonderful invention: an additional shower faucet that releases liquid soap into the water stream, thus making the act of taking a shower more efficient. I was a bit apprehensive about releasing my idea to the general public, or that is, all of you, because I thought many of you jerks would think the idea was stupid. Then I realized that most of you don’t take showers anyway, so why would I care what you think?

Actually, the responses were very positive, and a lot of you actually liked the idea. And as you all know, I had already submitted my name and contact information to the ISC (Inventor’s Submission Corporation). Well, their “patent specialist� called me back last week, and if Mel is in charge of getting things invented, then it’s a wonder how we even have toasters.

I came home from work one day last week, and my dad, who had read about my idea (and because of his plumbing expertise, probably feared he would have to help initiate it) informed me that I just missed the callback from the ISC rep. I think he found it amusing that I actually submitted this idea, and so did I, but what did I have to lose? So I got Mel’s number and planned to call him back the following day.

I do a lot of things at work that I’m not supposed to do, but this was the first occasion that I actually used company time to call in an idea about an additional shower faucet that releases liquid soap into the water stream. Mel sounded like an old, disgruntled employee who had heard one too many horrible ideas. He confirmed all of my information was correct, and then said, in a dull monotone voice, “So, what can I do for you?�

Now, maybe I’m crazy, but I assumed that this was the part of the conversation where I should start talking about my idea. So, I delightfully began to explain my idea to Mel, until he immediately cut me off with a “whoa, whoa, stop right there!� At this moment, I figured that somehow, after hearing “Well, my idea is an addit…� that Mel knew exactly where the conversation was headed, and was anxious to inform me that these extra shower faucets already existed. But as it turned out, Mel said that he could not, legally, listen to my idea until I had met with him and signed a letter of confidentiality, and discussed the details in person.

Mel specified that he was available between the hours of 11am and 7pm Monday thru Friday. His office was based in Bloomfield, NJ, and he would be sending me directions in the mail. Now, what time did I want to make an appointment?


“Whoa, whoa, stop right there!� I felt like saying. It was embarrassing enough to even be having this conversation, considering the triviality of my idea and the fact that Mel was assuming it was a cure for cancer. But there was no way I was missing work to haul ass to Bloomfield, NJ and talk to Mel about an idea that a) I’m not even sure already exists and b) if it doesn’t, who’s to say it’s even feasible? I asked Mel if he could just send me the agreement in the mail or something, and he actually laughed, saying, “If I were you, and I were discussing something as important as my idea, I wouldn’t trust anyone who said they would send something in the mail!� Boy am I stupid! Mel made me feel like this was the first time I was submitting an original idea with the hopes of getting it patented, which if course, it was.

Mel reiterated the fact that I had to meet with him personally to discuss the idea. He told me I was “very fortunate� to be provided with an hour of his time, which is apparently very valuable, for free. After all, I wouldn’t have to put down the $2,500 deposit to find a suitable manufacturer until after we decided if the idea was workable or not. Wow, what a deal! He then informed me that I should bring all of my sketches and blueprints and any other information pertaining to my idea, with me when we meet. “Who does this guy think I am, Thomas Edison?� I asked myself. If I were smart enough to think of idea that involved blueprints, Mel would be the last person I would talk to about it. I asked Mel if he could just listen to my idea and tell me if it already existed, and he said, “I’m available between the hours of 11am and 7pm Monday thru Friday.�

I told Mel I was a working man and could not find the time to meet with him during those hours. Mel let out another huge sigh, and said, “I just had heart surgery, okay? I can’t be dealing with this kind of stuff, alright? I feel I’m being very flexible here. Now, I’m available between the hours of 11am to 7pm Monday thru Friday – take or leave it!�

I wasn’t sure what heart surgery had to do with my idea, and I did not ponder the oxymoronic nature of set hours being flexible. But I knew that this would be my last conversation with Mel, the ISC “patent specialist�.


After an extensive online search, I eventually located a complete library of existing patents. My idea of adding liquid soap into the water stream is a concept already covered under Class 239, Section I of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, entitled Fluid Sprinkling, Spraying, and Diffusing.

I think I’m much more content knowing that my idea already exists than I would be excited if I were to have found out it didn’t, and be forced to do something about it. It’s kind of ironic that my idea was supposed to play on the laziness of people, but in the end, I would have been too lazy myself to even go through with making it.

It turns out I won’t become a millionaire from naturally soapy showers, although I am kind of confused as why I wasn’t taking a naturally soapy shower last night if my idea already exists. But at least I can say that I had an idea once, and did more than just sit on it.
I called Mel.

And told him to sit on it

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