Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Life: So just what has been the greatest invention ever?

My old dad loved gadgets. Now he didn't go and seek them like his errant son. But if somebody came to his office and stuck one under his nose? Well out came the wallet. And out of the wallet came a 10 pound note!

As a young 12 year old I used to marvel at the shit.. er I mean stuff he brought home.

Like the bottle of "Russian Hair Restorer". Now this was in the days when the west and the east were well and truly divided. So nobody had any idea just what was going on over there in Moscow.

Except for the salesman with the bottles of the wondrous elixir. You see it wouldn't grow hair, but it would turn your hair back to the colour it was when you were twenty one. Now at 67 my dad had greying hair and thought that black hair would be nice.. like he had in the army when he was in Poona.

So after dinner he carefully combed it through his hair and wrapped his hair in a towel.. which according to the instructions was only to be removed after a good night's sleep.

The next morning.. we sat him at the breakfast table with shaving mirror in hand and unwrapped his noggin.

To reveal..... the best head of coloured hair you had ever seen.

Except it was ginger in colour!

But he didn't learn. He was a naturally astute man who didn't suffer fools gladly. A less charitable person might say he was intolerant. I guess he hadn't read that line from Desiderata... the one about the dull and the ignorant, for they too have their story.. or something like that.

But gadgets.. well next was the pyramid made of blue plastic. About 24 inches each side at the base. Keep your razor under it and the universe or whatever would keep it sharp. Now for a man who studied chemistry at University.. well he was sceptical but gave it a try.

The cigarette papers all over his face two weeks later proved testament to the efficacy of the blue pyramid. Well for keeping razors sharp anyway. Mum hung it upside down on chains and planted ferns it it! Not very Egyptian!

Now not long after this came the French made razor blade sharpener. An amazing thing that had a removable cartridge that you fitted your razor blade in and then it sort of moved back and forwards over this three sided leather strop. Apparently it did sharpen razor blades very well indeed. Good one dad. He once commented on how it looked like a miniature Guillotine.

How very French!

As he grew into old age.. he often said that so and so was the best invention since sliced bread. Funny thing was he hated sliced bread. He loved to cut his own and put giant slabs of butter on it!

One day when I was an apprentice auto electrician he rang me from work (he was still woking in his 70s... a man ahead of Joe Hockey) and told me a guy was trying to sell him a trickle battery charger. The man told him he would never have a flat battery if he faithfully hooked it up each night.  I pointed out to him that since his HR Holden, all of his cars had been fitted with alternators including his then XY Ford and he had never had a flat battery since. "My son the auto electrician and his 3 auto electrician brothers say I don't need one. Good day to you Sir" I heard over the phone. Good one dad.

When I was about 11 he came home late one Saturday with a rifle. Mother was stunned. It seems it was to shoot sharks with. Part two of the story was it came with the small wooden launch he bought that was moored at Victoria Point. The "Tammy Two" came into our lives. Powered by a mighty marinised Fiat petrol engine.. this floating collection of wood worms holding hands was dad's pride and joy. How did he buy it? Well a guy came into see him trying to flog a boat compass.. he was down on his luck you see. So dad bought the compass.. and the boat it was fitted to.

Around 3 weeks later the MV Tammy Two had a new owner. Thank God! I was terrorised by the smell of fuel every time we opened the cabin.

Now what about Ron's son the village photographer?

Well I used to think that a dishwasher would be great idea. I hated drying dishes in mother's kitchen. Really hated it. Then I thought that air conditioning would be a good thing. Well done Dr Carrier. And of course trail bikes. Thank you Mr Yamaha for the DT1. The bike that invented a  whole new form of recreation for this young man. As I grew up I gave thanks for oral contraceptives .. should be used at every conceivable moment.

The mighty DT1. Because somebody wanted to take a short cut!

And then you have to add Jumbo jets to the list.. just love the 747 although I will always love the 707. Classic 35 degree wing sweep. And what about the Beatles? Magic musical invention that was! Calculators, computers (Love my MAC. Try a Mac and you'll never go back) digital cameras and the list goes on.

Oh yes.. sliced bread. The prodigal son loves his sliced bread. The internet, the quartz watch, (although I love mechanical watches) electric carving knives, power steering, mobile phones, smart mobile phones and iPads.. the list is endless. My home is full of gadgets as is my shed. You name it and I probably have one.. or two... or more. As a late friend of mine, Merv Davidson used to say, "I bought a new coffee machine today.. well we only had 3!"

So after 60 orbits of the sun and over halfway through number 61, what is my favourite gadget of all time?

Well feast your eyes on this.. no more arguments in our bathroom!

I have learnt from past mistakes!

My squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle was one of the reasons my first wife left 30 years ago!

She made a new plan Stan, slipped out the back Jack.. see she had the 50 ways to leave but also 125 reasons to leave!

And one of the 125 was that I squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle!

True story!

So readers.. I give you the greatest invention of all time..... the toothpaste tube squeezer!

A real marriage saving invention!

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