Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good Idea, Bad Idea

It is not uncommon for somebody to suggest an idea for a new invention, service, or convenience that everyone will immediately get behind. Folks will respond with remarks of "How clever! or "I can't believe nobody thought of that before!" or "That is a million-dollar idea!" or some other expression ending in an exclamation point. One such sure-fire notion was likely the idea of covering walls in what is called whiteboard paint, which is designed to make a wall into a gigantic dry erase board. In fact, in our new "technology" building at work, they covered every last square inch of the walls in every room with this stuff. Then within a few short months, it looks like they let loose roving bands of hoodlums to cover the place in technical graffiti. However, just like any other white board that is actually used, the ink soon does not come off or stains or just smears. What was initially thought to be a neat innovation has quickly degenerated into an eyesore that demands first cleanup and repair, and second, a more practical solution.

Of course, ideas like whiteboard wall paint that don't deliver on the promises of their initial heady brainstorming period really only have a downside in terms of costs to purchase and then to replace some short time later. However, other ideas of this sort might ultimately lead to world-wide pain, suffering, and loss of the uber-wealthy. One such idea is that of flying cars. Based on a recent CNN report, there are several companies prototyping ridiculously expense car/airplane hybrids. Sounds unnecessarily Spielbergian to me. However, just imagine the carnage that would ensue if we took the selfishness and utter disregard for courtesy and the rules of the road that are on ubiquitous display at every rush hour and put this a mile up in the air. Those of us on the ground would spend most of our time dodging the half-ton hailstones of wreckages that would be raining down upon us. I can hear Arthur Carlson from the old WKRP in Cincinnati sitcom, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." Oh the humanity.