Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Could Have Been the Next Steve Jobs

I'm grumpy. I'll try to narrow the field of this vast and often felt emotion...

Today's dissatisfaction is due to technology. But to be fair, I've always found technology a touch disappointing. For instance, when I was a kid I thought our family was poor because we had to use a CAR to drive to New Jersey instead of simply 'beaming' ourselves there while a nice Scottish man pushed buttons. I'm not kidding. This was my thought process. And even though none of my other friends had a beaming device, I still thought we should have one. 


I have never publicly announced this but I feel like now is the time to go on record as letting you know that it was actually ME who invented the answering machine. Let me explain...

In the early 80s, a friend and I realized that it would be great to be able to leave a message so you wouldn't have to continually call (aka "stalk" as it's now called) a friend to catch them when they're home. So we drew up a crude drawing of what we thought an answering machine would look like. There was a speaker, volume knob, as well as a group of other buttons that would obviously be what controlled the playback of our new device. We took this diagram and mailed it to the phone book company (as we thought THAT was the heart of the phone industry). We were SURE that we would hear back in just a few days because our idea was just that revolutionary. Also, we included BOTH of our home phone numbers, you know, in case one of us was not home because 5th grade.

Fast forward to 3 months later and I'm in Radio Shack with my parents and OH MY GOD IT'S AN ANSWERING MACHINE. It was right there in front of me. Exactly as we had drawn it. It was even the same color brown as the crayon we used. It was all I could do not to burst into tears and throw blank 8-track tapes at everyone around me. (I should note that it was at that moment that I knew life would be one big screw-over. I was 11.)

This is like EXACTLY what my friend and I drew.
Damn you for stealing my dreams, Pennsylvania Bell!
 
So there you have it. You can (and should) thank me for the answering machine. I'm sure that had my genius been nurtured instead of stolen, I'd have gone on to invent other amazing things like GPS, automatic can openers, and laser discs. YOUR LOSS, WORLD. Your loss.



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