I will never be an inventor of things. That’s unfortunate, since from a very young age I read about Leonardo da Vinci and marvelled at the innovation of others and desperately wished to be able to create things.
The things are still undefined, which is fine, since my interests lie all over the place. I didn’t have a burning desire to invent a machine or anything specific, although there was a long time (for a child) of thinking that programming them might be a good thing. Sadly, technology and my imagination weren’t remotely aligned, and it was still all the sort of stuff they showed on Tomorrow’s World, back when that was a thing and was years away from becoming anything like what I wanted. (Also, I discovered I was absolutely shit at maths. It would never have worked…)
Since I’ve mentioned Tomorrow’s World I feel obliged to enter in the ether my ongoing bitterness at the programme when they showed these amazing new things called Compact Discs. They spread jam on them and scratched them and it was all lovely and they still played. Well, given that everyone knows that a solitary yoghurty fingerprint from the index finger of a toddler is enough to make it go jumpy or stick, I’d like to know how they sleep at night. We had such high, high hopes… (They even seem to have destroyed the evidence, since it doesn’t seem to be on YouTube. They’ll probably blame ‘time’ and ‘storage factors’ but it was probably destroyed out of shame.)
Anyway, things. I can’t invent them. I can spark off other people’s ideas and can adapt things but the fundamental thing at the heart of it is almost always not from me. I’m resourceful because my brain, Brian, stores away all the ridiculous amounts of information it thinks might come in handy one day and can fling out appropriate solutions rapidly under fire. But it’s other people’s creations and ideas, not mine, although I often take something as inspiration and go with it and see what happens.
Every now and again, I think I’ve hit on something. A while ago, when I was bravely venturing into the garden shed to retrieve the lawn mower, to give the grass its annual hack, it was full of massive spider webs and I just froze: trying to make myself reach in but limbs not obeying Brian’s shouty voice. Then I had my eureka moment: the 8 foot long bamboo canes that my grandmother gave me 4 years ago to try and encourage me to grow the beans that I haven’t planted yet! I was a genius: this was the best idea in the history of cowardice mitigation ever. I would simply use the cane – easily long enough for me to keep a safe distance in case something fell down – to wrap up the webs like candy floss.
Mentally doing the happy dance of someone who’s just invented the simplest, cleverest garden device for arachnophobes the world has ever seen, I cleared all the webs from the area I needed to get into, and left the rest of the shed to Bob, the giant shed spider who has ruled my shed with 8 iron fists (feet?) for as long as I can remember. I do not doubt that there have been various iterations of Bob and don’t imagine it’s the same one, but it’s massive and there is always one in there. It leaves moulted skins along the window frame to show me how it’s getting on. I’m not aware that I have any sort of problem with pests in my shed. Bob takes care of that.
Anyway, massively successful foray into the shed completed, I did the garden stuff I needed to do and then my daughter called so I took the opportunity to tell her that her mother was clever and had invented a thing which was really useful. She listened as I described it to her. “You mean like in Shrek?” she asked.
It was then that I resolved to take more enjoyment in creating the things that I can, even if it’s following someone else’s pattern or copying someone else’s tried and tested recipe. I get enormous satisfaction from creating something from nothing: even if the ‘nothing’ in question’s a seed which does all the hard work while all I have to do is remember to water it before the leaves get too droopy.
I still use canes to clear spider webs. I maintain that it’s a very sound idea, regardless of the source.
(I don’t really call my brain Brian.)