Letting our imaginations run wild

Patent pending
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  May 18, 2011

There was a priceless article in last week's Portland Press Herald about the "Platter Ensemble," a new "invention" — a slotted plate that fits over a deep-dish platter in order to catch the juices that sometimes squirt out of a freshly cracked lobster (up to 12 ounces of fluid, according to creator TJ "Lats" Latvis!). The platters will be sold online through Lobster Gram, a Chicago-based company, and the University of Maine's Lobster Institute, which will keep a portion of the proceeds. They can, of course, be used for other insufferably juicy meals as well.

The high point of the Press Herald piece came at its conclusion, with this quotation, from Lobster Institute Executive Director Bob Bayer: "With this product, I can enjoy a lobster and not have to change my pants when I'm done eating." Wow. Is this really an epidemic? People needing to change their clothes after a lobsterbake because they're absolutely drenched in sea-juice? I had no idea.

In celebration of such inventiveness, and using the Platter Ensemble as our muse, we came up with a few dream developments we'd like to see in the future.

DRUNK-TEXT PREVENTER Supposedly cell phones with built-in Breathalyzers already exist, but they're nowhere near market saturation. I've never heard a friend say, "I should blow into my phone before deciding whether or not to send this pathetic midnight text message." Perhaps we need a better PR campaign to get these devices the publicity they need. Then we'd have articles with quotations like this one: "With this product, I can enjoy unlimited tequila drinks and not want to die when I revisit my outgoing text messages the next morning."

LEPAGE RECALLER Akin to the Staples "Easy Button," this device would be conveniently placed in post offices, supermarkets, farmers' markets, and hospitals. Supporters would rave: "With this product, I can read about the passage of Maine's new health-care law, the proposal to strip Maine Public Broadcasting Network of funding, or Governor LePage's latest verbal gaffe without feeling completely politically impotent and hopeless about Maine's future." For a limited time, the LePage Recaller comes with the Maine Democratic Party Revitalizer and Backbone Enhancer.

FACEBOOK CLEVER-MAKER Don't ever worry about transforming your quotidian activities into witty Facebook status updates again! Just plug a few bits of information into the Clever-Maker's interface, and it'll whip up a droll update in seconds — complete with song lyrics, if you state that proclivity in your personal preferences. This endorsement says it all: "With this product, I feel interesting again!"

AUTOMATIC BANG-TRIMMER For those who don't need a full-head haircut (easily provided by the Flowbee) but lack the steady hand (and restraint) needed for a DIY haircut. "With this product, I can cut my own bangs and not have to call my hairdresser, weeping and desperate, five minutes later."

BEDBUG SENSOR No, really, I want this one. Imagine if you could carry something like a mini-metal detector that detected hideously disgusting biting creatures instead of hidden treasure. "With this product, I can enjoy a night's sleep without occasionally waking up in a panic, fearing that I've maybe brushed against a bedbug-infested person earlier in the day and infiltrated my own home with creepy-crawlies." — Me, if that product was ever invented.

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