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You might be an inventor if...

By Paul Niemann          Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 23, 2004]  In an article that would make Jeff Foxworthy proud, we help you determine if you or your spouse might be an inventor.

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Ladies, does your husband stay up half the night tinkering in the garage? When you catch him sneaking off to the local hardware store late at night, does he deny working on his latest invention and instead make up some lame excuse… such as claiming that he was at the bar with the guys?

If so, then he might be an inventor.

Guys, do you notice that your wife's purse seems to be getting bigger every day? By the way, have you ever tried to figure out what some of the items are that she carries in her purse? Chances are, it's more than just makeup and keys. She probably has some prototypes, a copy of Inventors' Digest magazine and maybe the business cards of a few good patent attorneys in there.

If so, then she might be an inventor. Since you, as a guy, are not allowed to look into your wife's purse under any circumstances, you have no way of knowing for sure. This column -- the ultimate test to determine if you or your spouse might be an inventor -- will help you figure it out.

You might be an inventor if…

  • You give your pets names such as Patent, Einstein, Da Vinci, Edison, etc.
  • You give your kids names such as Patent, Einstein, Da Vinci, Edison, etc. (It was OK for TV's Frasier Crane to name his dog Pavlov on "Cheers" because he played a psychiatrist on TV.)
  • You've ever tried to make a radio out of a coconut -- because the professor on "Gilligan's Island" could do it.

You might be an inventor if…

  • You believe that Binford Tools, the fictional company on TV's "Home Improvement" show, is a real company.
  • You actually own some Binford tools.
  • As a kid, you routinely took apart electrical appliances or engines and tried to put them back together. Add five points if you finished with more parts than you started with.

[to top of second column in this article]

You might be an inventor if…

  • Your list of "most admired people" includes Hollywood inventors such as Major Boothroyd of James Bond fame (also known as Q), the frazzle-haired Doc Brown from the "Back to the Future" movies or Rick Moranis' character in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."
  • You believe that TV's MacGyver really could make a homemade bomb using only a paper clip and an empty gas can. Deduct five points if you've ever tried to make a homemade bomb using only a paper clip and an empty gas can.
  • You go more than three months without filing a patent application and the patent office calls to see if you're OK.
  • The patent office's phone number is on your speed dial.
  • Your phone number is on the patent office's speed dial.

If you think you're an inventor, then you just might become one someday.

[Paul Niemann]

Invention Mysteries is written each week by Paul Niemann. A special thanks goes out to Paul's nephew, 14-year-old Johnny Wood, for his contributions to this article. Johnny plans on taking over this column when Uncle Paul turns 65 in the year 2030.

© Copyright Paul Niemann 2004

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