When I was younger, one of the first things I wanted to be was an inventor. I remember taping a small etch-a-sketch to a giant toy-bucket I had and calling that an invention.
“What does it do?” I would be asked.
“Well, you put toys or junk in it and then you can draw what’s inside.”
A few years later I realized it was pretty dumb, but in my maturity, it was actually kind of cool. They’re now doing that with all sorts of things- being able to write the name or draw whatever is inside something is the new thing, in a way. At least in the po-mo decorating world.
My parents, who wanted even then to cultivate some useful money-making talent, recommended I think about working for 3M when I grow up.
“What do they do?” I would say.
“They invent things. Like Post-it notes.”
Now, though, in my largely fruitless job search, I have realized that a couple of the things I am most proud of are the inventions that I have recently made. Specifically the keychain for the Saturn and Cheez-Its & Hot Sauce.
The story behind the keychain for the Saturn starts at a trip I made up to St. John’s last summer. It was June, and Crotchy was putting together a high school alumni Frisbee tournament. It was pretty poorly organized, but it was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. Each day after playing, we went down to the beach and swam and got wicked sunburns. After Saturday’s swim, us guys had to head to Tommy Hall to shower up before the night’s festivities. I only had my UnderArmour shorts, which don’t have pockets, so I had to figure out some place to put the keys to the car I was incomprehensibly being trusted with approximately a nanosecond after we had purchased it. As I am wont to do, I’d been distracted by a piece of string I found on the field during the day’s games. I had picked it up and tied it around my wrist. It was pretty interesting- looked like a shoelace, maybe, but it was black and white checkered. On the way to the showers I just tied it through the keychain, then put it back on my wrist in order to keep the keys attached to me. Yes, I was so tired that I was too lazy to even hold keys.
My family has since never taken the string off- it’s the only mark of any kind for which we have to identify which keys they are. And I have since been able to use the string for its original purpose as well. But it reminds me of a time when I think I was perfectly careless. I had a paying job, I wasn’t out of school yet, and after making a bad decision (not wearing sunscreen at the beach) I made a good decision.
Another good decision I made was less serendipitous, and just came from my insistence that there were very few things hot sauce could not make better. I suppose I had discovered Hot sauce as such at Many Point my second year. There was very little we didn’t put it on, sandwiches, salads- whatever. And when we got home, I kept it. Crystal was good quality, but as I later found out, it was no Frank’s. The biggest trick to this phenomenon, I think, was spreading the Gospel of Cheez-It/Hot Sauce to others. Dylan was the first convert, my junior year when he and Marty began living with us. Since those two items were in our apartment so often, they were pretty inevitable to mix. He was the first of the roommates to give them a chance. And since, they have caught on to others.
I think my calling in life is to continue being creative and making things. Either making things that I am told to make, or making things of my own volition. But with as many ideas as I have, I want to make as many of them realities as possible.