Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Million Dollar Ideas-- Free to You! (Well, Almost)

Every couple of years I come up with an idea so brilliant and amazing and revolutionary that I am forced to wonder: a) How come nobody has ever thought of this before?; and b) How many millions of dollars would I make if I actually got off my behind and attempted to bring this idea to fruition? Then I usually shrug my shoulders, eat another Twix bar and continue watching videos of amusing chimps on YouTube.

Clearly I’m no entrepreneur. I’ve never bothered to patent any of my ideas or even take the radical step of googling the phrase “How do I patent my ideas?” The only person I’ve ever shared my earth-shattering concepts with is my wife and she’s only slightly more entrepreneurial than me. (Of course, this is like saying Rush Limbaugh is only slightly more liberal than Michele Bachman.)

While the selfish side of me has been frustrated for years that my inherent laziness is causing me to miss out on truckloads of money, recently the selfless side of me has been weighing in as well. Forget the financial reward—these life-changing concepts can contribute to the betterment of mankind, so by doing nothing about them I am diminishing humanity.

This is where you, my faithful—and hopefully driven—readers come into the picture. Knowing that I am never going to follow up on any of my concepts, now, for the first time, I am going to reveal four of my best ideas in the hopes that some of you might act upon them and bring the world a sliver more joy and happiness. All I ask in return is that if indeed you become filthy rich as a result of this, you buy me a flat screen television. (*Note: by reading this blog you automatically agree to make Andrew J. Schwartzberg equal financial partners in any resulting endeavor and will relinquish 50% of all profits to him in perpetuity and e pluribus unum.) Onto the ideas…

The Watchdog – Although I am not a dog owner, it is clear to me from conversations with dog owners that sometimes dogs need to be walked. Indeed, it seems that often dogs need to be walked around the same time every day. Sometimes dogs seem to approach their owners in a manner that indicates that they (the dog) feel it is time for them to be walked. Perhaps the owner isn’t sure if it is, indeed, time for the dog to be walked and maybe they’re not wearing a watch or near a clock at that moment. Is it time to walk the dog or isn’t it? How can you know? Wouldn’t it be nice if the dog could tell you the time? Crazy, you say? Well, not with the Watchdog! The Watchdog is a dog collar that has a watch on it. It’s fashionable and practical. When your dog comes running and seems to want to be walked, all you have to do is look at its collar to see if the time is right!

Indoor Running Rest Areas – It’s summer vacation and you’re on a long road trip with your family. You have two young children in the backseat who are getting restless. You’ve driven for three hours and have at least two more hours before you hit the next rest stop. Boy would it be great if you could just stop and let the kids run around for 20 minutes before they kill each other in the car. Only problem is you’re on I-8 in the middle of the Sonoran Desert and it’s 115-degrees outside. Wouldn’t it be great if somewhere in the middle of this barren wasteland there was a gigantic, enclosed, air-conditioned, carpeted empty building that your kids could run around in? You bet your bippy that would be great! Yes, I’m talking about a building at least the size of a Costco that has absolutely nothing in it—no furniture, no merchandise, no structures of any kind. Cool, comfortable emptiness in which your kids can manically run around—and then hopefully zonk out for the rest of the ride as soon as they get back into the car.

Rentable Man Caves – We live in a small three-bedroom house and each one of those rooms is claimed by an inhabitant. The garage houses our minivan, the attic houses wiring, pipes and dust, and there is no basement. There is no good place for me to do private man things. If I want to blast Led Zeppelin or watch a gory horror flick, I do it on my 12-inch laptop while wearing a headset. Pathetic, I know. For years I wallowed in self-pity about this and one day it occurred to me that I can’t possibly be the only man in this predicament. While there are millions of guys out there who have managed to create their own man caves in a spare room or toolshed, there must be millions of others who have no such luxury. Would they pay $20 per hour to rent one for an evening? To get their own private man cave with a big screen television, incredible sound system, and fridge for beer and macaroni salad? I know I’d pay top dollar for a set up like this every once in a while. I envision a large retail space with a dozen or so soundproof units for rent. Once inside renters can do anything they want within legal reason…except listen to Michael Bolton. Man Caves have their standards.

Peripheral Frame Lenses – I have exceptionally good eyesight, so I’ve never had to think that much about glasses; on the other hand, my dad was an optometrist, so optometric thinking must be in my DNA. That genetic predisposition to eyewear knowledge came up big the other night while talking to my wife, who wears glasses. She mentioned in passing that due to the thickness of her frames, her peripheral vision is blocked while driving. In other words, the frame itself creates a blind spot for her. Oh, the irony! I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if instead of making the frame out of opaque plastic, they made it out of the same material as the lens and made the frame itself to your prescription?” A second after the full impact of that thought set in I shouted, “I’m going to be a millionaire!” Then I went on eating my Twix bar.