Jane Macdougall: The Bookless Club talks about brilliant ideas

I’m talking about things that, in your estimation, ought to be in the world. Things that would make life a little easier, a little better.

“Splorgatch redimini”.

I keep a pad of paper next to my bed. I bought a jumbo pen so that I can find it in the night.

When a “Eureka!” moment rouses me from my sleep, I fumble for the pen. I don’t turn on a light. I don’t open my eyes. Nocturnally, I have complete and utter faith in my ability to capture a genius idea for inspection in the light of day. First thing in the morning, I reach for my pad of paper where my genius idea is faithfully recorded.

Splorgatch redimini, indeed.

Some nights, I am assailed with a meteor shower of genius ideas. In the morning, those recordings look very much like a child’s drawing of the lunar surface. Perhaps a madman’s renderings of the Eiffel Tower as drawn from memory. A Martian’s grocery list? Who can say? Certainly not daylight me.

A word or a phrase or two will be legible:


“Fireproof? Critical!”

“Elon? Dyson? Dragon’s Den!!”

I am the possessor of a fevered mind. I’m always hatching ideas or revising accepted practices. I rarely look at a thing without reinventing it. (Notice that I didn’t say “improving” it.) The malcontent in me likes to perceive fault, and the Scot in me likes to pretend I’m a chief proponent of the Enlightenment.

Maybe you’re the same?

Maybe you have some gobsmackingly stellar ideas that would set a divide between the dark era prior to your genius and the halcyon days when the world revels in your ingenuity? I’m not talking about what minute adjustments you’d make to the Hadron Particle Collider. I’m talking about things that, in your estimation, ought to be in the world. Things that would make life a little easier, a little better.

Here are a few of mine:

• People in apartment 24D are too familiar with flooding from overfilled bathtubs in apartment 25D. And washing machine and fridge hoses have an inclination to burst on Day One of a two-week holiday. We could eliminate most of the damage from these indoor floods via the simple addition of a drain in a kitchen or bathroom floor that ties into the already present drainage. A simple overflow drain! It ought to be part of the building code.

• At this very moment, in your kitchen, you have about a dozen lids that don’t fit any of your jars. Go ahead, use them for miniature frisbees as their mates are never showing up. But how about this? What if there were, let’s say, 10 uniform lid sizes? Jars could look like whatever the manufacturer wanted, but the openings would be standardized. The landfill won’t miss its mountain of metal discs and you can give up sharpening your Fisher Price-size matching skills.

• Pedestrian-controlled crosswalks. Read that again slowly: Pedestrian. Controlled. Starting in kindergarten, pedestrians ought to be taught that when they see a vehicle timidly inching out into a torrent of traffic, praying that the light will turn red allowing them to safely cross the intersection or turn left, the pedestrian ought to hit the button enabling them to safely do so. Instead, pedestrians walk by as if saying, “Drowning?” “Pity.” A simple push of a button could save many lives. A gesture both grand … and pedestrian!

So, there are a few of my own theses. By tomorrow morning, I’ll likely have a fresh crop. And with any luck, I’ll have sorted out some niggling extraditions concerns, and whether “splorgatch” indeed benefits from “redimini”.

Jane Macdougall is a freelance writer and former National Post columnist who lives in Vancouver. Her garden is her major distraction during COVID-19. She will be writing on The Bookless Club every Saturday online and in The Vancouver Sun.

This week’s question for readers:

Do you have any brilliant ideas that would improve everyday life?

Send your answers by email text, not an attachment, in 100 words or less, along with your full name to Jane at [email protected] We will print some next week in this space.

Responses to last week’s question for readers:

Let’s hear about pick-up lines that either worked for you, or on you.

• The best pick-up line I ever heard was: “Your eyes are the same colour as the interior of my Maserati.”

Janis Hall

• A long time ago in a far-away Prairie town, I was taking private French horn lessons from a very attractive young man. We had flirted a bit, but kept our sessions professional until one day after I handed him the customary $20. With a sly grin on his face, he asked me, “What am I going to do with all this money?” I gave a nervous giggle and I honestly don’t remember which one of us said we should go for a drink. We ended up at a fancy bar, but it turned out that neither one of us drank or even knew what to order. We still laugh about that start to our relationship 37 years later.

Joy Johnston-Kiges

• In my early dating life, being very much the introvert, I always found that a simple “Hi” and a smile went a long way to break the ice.

I also wanted to share my favourite line (which I could never use!): “Is your last name Gillette? ‘Cuz you’re the best a man can get.”

Todd Becher

• It’s just for fun, but it always made for a smile: “Besides being incredibly sexy, what do you do for a living?”

D. Anderson

• A handsome man walked up to me in a bar. My girlfriends and I were on barstools. We liked the looks of him. He got close and then he tripped on something (I think it was my purse) and kind of landed in my lap. He looked up at me and said, “Clearly, I’m falling for you.” We were married two years later.

K. McDonald

• This may be a little racy for your newspaper, but this was a line used on me at a Christmas party in 1972 in Auckland, New Zealand.

The night was growing late. We had been discussing massages. I was taken aside by Franny and given this line: “Come on home with me and I’ll give you a massage you’ll never forget.”

The line worked … and, after 48 years, I still haven’t forgotten.

Alan Hurlburt

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