Phone is ringing as I open the door. It's Dan, wondering how the job-hunting is going. I tell him about Meredith and the number-crunching and how a job isn’t going to earn me enough. 'What I really need is a get-rich-quick scheme. I need to invent something indispensable. A widget or a chip or something that gives me royalties for life.’
‘The best invention of all time, I think,’ says Dan, ‘is the dustbin smell remover. You go to the shop, you buy it, and the minute you get home, you throw it in the bin! Isn’t that inspired?’
‘What about caustic soda?' I suggest. 'The minute you get home you tip it down the drain?’
‘Yes, Lize,’ says Dan, the superiority seeping from his voice. ‘Hasn’t someone already invented that?’
‘OK, what about this? Crow poo remover. I could call it Guano-gone™.’
‘Yes! In fact, I've just remembered, I had a brilliant idea when I was walking Dusty just now. Mind to Manuscript™!’
‘Well, instead of having to dictate or type your ideas, you just think them, and no sooner has the thought been formed, than this piece of software translates it onto the page. It’ll bring me fame and fortune! I’ll set up the Eliza H. Gray Foundation on the proceeds. I’ll buy an old people's home and we can all live in it. And a twilight home for canines with a hydrotherapy pool and grounds with rich country smells and doting staff befitting noble octogenarians such as Dusty and possibly Digger…’
Dan is laughing his Am I Actually Related To This Woman? Laugh.
‘You may well laugh, but I bet, 200 years ago, some woman was up on Mistle Hill, tending her sheep, when she had this sudden brainwave about a device that would enable her to speak to her mum down in the village, and she came running down full of enthusiasm, and all the villagers and particularly her brother mocked her mercilessly and put her in stocks and threw wet sponges or wellies at her, but, you see, she was a visionary. We visionaries…’
Dan emits a sort of wheezy hiss that might signal his imminent demise.
‘… have to wait for technology to catch up. I must get someone onto it in Korea.’
‘Talking of vision,’ stutters Dan, ‘how about a musical staircase for the blind so they know how far up they are?’
‘When you speak to an inventor, each one will have a string of bright ideas that didn't make it until – bingo! Have you thought about a staircase with different lights for the deaf ones who couldn't hear the music?’
Dan really is a card. As I put the phone down, the names for the staircases pop into my head. Sound Steps™ and Light Steps™. Maybe I could be an Invention Name Copywriter?