Any time I see the word “entrepreneur,” I think of one thing: Is that the correct spelling?
Here’s the thing. I’ve spent years trying to help my fellow woman. I once invented the pull-up toddler diaper, sketched out as well as any kindergartner could. I got a letter back saying it was already in process. They didn’t even compliment me on how well I colored between the lines. Brats.
Then there’s my “no-pin” corsage idea, crucial to humanity. True, I have no clue – none – about how to invent it, but it would eliminate corsage-trauma among mothers and honorary aunts. Not to mention fewer trips to the ER and dry cleaners.
My great grandfather, Alfred, was an early inventor of air conditioning. Well, probably not the air part. Though clearly not a female entrepreneur (… reneur …whew!), he was sensitive and not just out to make a buck. So I’ve got this whole genetic/invention/ethics thing going on that stretches far beyond finding moral justification for eating chocolate. That’s a lot of pressure. Stay with me.
Alfred’s granddaughter – my mom – didn’t invent anything tangible per se, but she was quite original in her thinking, and ultimately inspired my creative, um, genius.
In the 1970s, my parents moved to Maine. Dad began teaching and Mom started writing for Maine newspapers and gathering friends like young celebrities gather arrest selfies.
Mom was a city girl, and ill-equipped for rural Maine winters. Talented, wonderful, but a skilled driver she was not. Think Mr. Magoo, but much, much prettier. I phoned her during her first Maine blizzard. I was 19, living in Bridgeport, Conn.
“Big snowstorm, eh, Mom?” I asked, from my cozy apartment, which overlooked one of the first Subway sandwich shops.
“Oh, we’re fine,” she said.
She prattled on (she was an expert prattler) about new activities, while I rehearsed, “Large tuna, no onions, extra tomatoes,” in my head, as I nursed my first-born.
“I played bridge at Lorraine’s today,” she said, “and when I left, the snow was really coming down.”
“Mmmm, ” I said, mentally calculating the addition of a cookie to my order. You know, the soft, bendy kind.
“I went into a snow bank,” she said.
I gasped. A tiny face looked up at me, milk dribbling past her sweet little dimple.
“Oh, no,” I said, in one of those stunning role reversals we eventually find ourselves in. “Are you all right?”
“Of course,” she said. “I did it on purpose. I do it all the time. If the car starts to slide, I just drive into a snow bank.”
Friends, she was serious. Let us pause for a moment to recall the ingenuity of the dear but quirky departed.
I later moved to Maine and experienced the winter roads first-hand. Mom’s driving skills improved, and I began conjuring fantasies of how to make driving safer for humanity, and also perfect my budding engineering skills via “dot-to-dot” books. When there’s nothing good on TV and I’ve eaten every “healthy” snack in the house and am face to face with a lone bag of chips, I dream. I dream for you. Not for any big profit. Not for fame. I dream for your safety on the roads. The bad news: I have 10 pounds of winter weight to kick off. The good news: an invention to top all inventions.
Picture a big truck, snow plow in front and a humongous blow dryer in back. Plow and blow, plow and blow.
A street hairdryer.
Of course, there’d have to be something like four or maybe 4,000 of them for every square mile, because no one would want to be driving along on perfectly dry road and then be, like, hello Mount Washington. There are still details unfinished, like coloring in the wintery road scene, but I’m pretty sure you can see what an absolutely awesome idea this is. It would create a bazillion new jobs, thereby solving the whole annoying economy-job thing. It might use a ton of energy, but bonus – more jobs to work that one out.
The roads would be clean, because the trucks would also have a shampoo component underneath. If Mom were here today, she’d approve. She’d no longer have to drive into snow banks every hundred feet. Plus, she always loved her weekly shampoo and blow dry. I’m picturing a tea room in the cab portion. Too cramped? I call it intimate. Oh – and a side window selling paperbacks.
But please, I want nothing. It’s my gift to you. OK, maybe name it after me. A catchy nickname appropriate to my level of creative entrepreneurship.
Something like – the Snow Job.