Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"It Seemed Like A Good Idea"

Recently, I got so many post ideas at bedtime, I started thinking I was a “Night Person” but I never knew it ‘cause I was always asleep.

When I get these ideas, I have to immediately write them down, because when I don’t, they disappear. You know how, on the computer, when you transfer a file from one place to another place, there’s this icon showing the file floating from Point A to Point B? It’s like that with these ideas.

They float in from the place they come from, flutter across my “radar screen”, and if I don’t capture them en route, they float out to the place where they go. Which, for all I know, is the same place. Although it does seem to be on the other side.

It appears to be a three-step process. The idea’s not there, then it’s there, and then it’s gone. Maddeningly often, forever.

Ideas are precious. They need to be preserved.

That’s why I bought The Pen.

I saw it in a stationery store next to our favorite restaurant, Pizzicotto. What is it? It’s a kind of sturdy silver, metal pen, at the top of which is this flexible bendy thing, (similar to the setup on a goose-necked lamp), and at the top of the flexible bendy thing, there’s a little light.

You see what they’re going for? A pen with a light on it, so you can write in the dark. How could you not buy that?


It’s bedtime. I’m about to fall asleep. Suddenly, a brilliant idea flutters into my consciousness. I mean, it’s a doozy. Original. Insightful. Impeccably worded. And funny as heck.

I sit up in bed. I grab The Pen, strategically positioned on my night table. I click on the little light. I adjust the flexible bendy thing over my notepad.


It’s totally useless.

No matter how I position the flexible bendy thing, the only thing the little light illuminates is the back of my hand. I adjust the flexible bendy thing in another position. It illuminates a different part of the back of my hand.

What it doesn’t illuminate is the notepad. Why? Because as a result of The Pen’s design, my hand always ends up between the light and the paper. I can’t see where I want to write. I can only see knuckles and veins.

There is the possibility, as Randy Newman sings, that “Maybe I’m doing it wrong.”


Somebody had this breakthrough idea as they were about to fall asleep, and they didn’t write it down. When they woke up the next morning, they forgot how to make it, but they were so stubborn, they went ahead with it anyway. And they ended up with this.

A pen that’s supposed to illuminate what you’re writing on but instead lights up the back of your hand.

A failure for recording nocturnal insights.
Helpful, I imagine, if you’re searching for warts.


januaryfire said...

Don't sweat it, Earl. My test of a truly great idea is if I don't write it down, will I remember it? If I do, then it's worth my time. If I don't, it probably would have been one of those "what was I thinking?" ideas that get read in the morning and promptly crinkled up and put in the circular file.

Anonymous said...

How about a book reading light that you leave clipped on the notepad with a pen also under the clip?

Anonymous said...

My first idea might be hard to manage - try the book light clipped to the notepad and a pen tied with a length of string to the light. String would have to be long enough to provide for writing on notepad.

I have clearly spent too much time in offices trying to make things work when I have very little to start with.

Chico said...

Hello!! Just use your regular pen to write your idea on the back of your well-lit hand! duh.