Monday, April 21, 2008

Great Invention Idea? A New Twist on Skating and Water-Sking

The advancements of the last thirty years have raised the invention stakes for everyone. What's wrong with that, you ask? Nothing, except that this often results in the less creative among us churning out mediocre or bad ideas when they could be doing something much more productive, like removing shopping carts from the parking lot at a local Wal-Mart! In my opinion, the following two patented inventions illustrate this point exactly.

The kneeling skates, designed by a fellow who loves to skate but was put off by the fact he couldn't wear his skates in restaurants or shops, enables skaters to enjoy their favorite activity and when the time comes simply stand up and walk into any establishment. As for shoes, you can wear any ordinary pair of shoes because the skates come with rubber pads to protect your shoes, which also serve as your brakes. Sounds good to you? Maybe. But I have to wonder why this clever guy didn't just outfit a pair of shoes to resemble those sneakers kids are wearing with the retractable wheels?

Not as Cool as Inline SkatesNot as Cool as Inline Skates

Of course, from a practical perspective I get the United States patent for Propulsion Sticks: these motorized paddles are used for water skiers who don't have access to a ski boat. The trouble is I've actually water-skied and I don't see how these things could ever really work. First of all, they'd have to go really fast to lift a skier out of the water. As a result, they'd have to be pretty heavy or the speed of the sticks would cause them to come out of the water and fly out of the skier's hands. And who wants to go to the beach carrying a couple of anchors anyway?

Looks like Ethel Merman, not Ethel MermaidLooks like Ethel Merman, not Ethel Mermaid

Besides, water-skiing is a social sport. It's something we do in groups. We all pitch in, get a boat and some beers, then laugh and make fun of the person bobbing in the water like a buoy because the person driving the boat has got a sense of humor! If you've got to ski solo it's just not worth it. And it's a little sad too.

Skating, on the other hand, is a solo sport. Although it can be done in pairs or groups, skating with equipment that makes you look like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," practically guarantees the skater a solo status, which I suspect they are already accustomed to.

I admit, both of these ideas aren't bad, they just seem self-serving. What do you think?

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