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06 January 2017 @ 12:28 pm
LJ Idol Season Ten: "The Next Big Thing"  
The Next Big Thing
idol season ten | week 4 | 439 words
“I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be. "


First off, let's be clear. It's not about predicting the next pet rock or nothing, 'cause that shit's crazy, okay? Nobody knows how that works.

No, it's more like this: you think about what people want or need, and then dream up a better version of it. Like, in the future, maybe. I probably ain't describin' it real good, but this stuff ain't easy, you know?

Say somebody comes to you and says, "One day, these cars are gonna drive themselves." But you don't fall for that, 'cause people fuckin' love driving their cars. That ain't never gonna happen. So yeah, not that. Instead, maybe you hear someone say, "Gee, I wish I could walk faster but I can't, on account of my feet are doin' maximum speed already." And you think, "How about tennis shoes with pop-out wheels for skating on? That'd work!"

Not that I came up with that, you unnerstand. It was somebody else. But I'm just sayin'.

'Cause the point is, you gotta anticipate.

Like, for businessmen who're always getting stuck in meetings that run way over into lunch… a tie you could eat, one that maybe tastes like barbecue sauce or something'. That'd be great, right? Though it wasn't actually as popular as I'd hoped, but it coulda been.

Or the Fruit Phone, which was just for fun—a cellphone that looks like a banana or a pineapple or whatever, and you could fit it into your purse. You'd think people would totally go for that, right? But they didn't, not even when I ran ads on late-night TV.

And yeah, I've done the crappy TV ads and the mail-order schemes and the whole bit. They're not great, but they get your product out there, and you earn a buck or two. No shame in that.

Some ideas sell themselves. What about those grill lighters that work better than matches? Or wait, the self-cleaning litter box? That was total genius! Of course, that wasn't mine, either, no such luck. Damn, this business is tough.

You think you know what people want, but you don't, 'cause people are total freaks. And then one day you're lyin' on your deathbed, going "What the hell was I thinkin' going into this line of work, anyway? I shoulda had my head examined!"

But the truth is right there in front of you, there's no escapin' it. You're a dreamer, and you gotta be true to yourself and make the most of it.

And who knows? Anything could happen. Maybe someday one of those crazy ideas you came up with will finally hit it big.

Me? I'm still waitin'.


If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

adoptedwriter: pic#102963215adoptedwriter on January 6th, 2017 10:59 pm (UTC)

Love the " voice" in this. We had a self cleaning litter pan once. It was literally a crock o shit. : p

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 7th, 2017 04:06 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I've heard of two typical reactions to the self-cleaning litter box. One is that it terrifies the cat, who then won't go near it. The other is that the cat is fascinated, and will spend hours activating it and watching it do its thing. :)

Edited at 2017-01-07 04:12 am (UTC)
(no subject) - cheshire23 on January 10th, 2017 06:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 06:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jake67jake on January 10th, 2017 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 09:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i_17bingo: toileti_17bingo on January 7th, 2017 10:43 am (UTC)
I work retail, and some of the things I saw sold for stocking stuffers this Christmas (the inflatable selfie frame) make me wonder if maybe the fruit phone would sell.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 8th, 2017 06:30 am (UTC)
o_O Inflatable.Selfie.Frame?

Though it does kind of sound like a product aimed at teenagers, doesn't it? Which I believe would also be the target market for the fruit phone. It's one of those things where you know it will either flop or become an enormous fad... but it's impossible to know which way it will go.

At least the guy took the risk and tried to ride that idea toward success. Most of us are not that brave!
rayasorayaso on January 8th, 2017 04:09 pm (UTC)
I loved this! You do dialect so well -- you have a keen ear for voices. The inventions were marvelous. It is really hard to come up with plausible bad ideas. I have seen self-cleaning litter boxes in pet stores, but have never had a temptation to buy one -- they can't possibly work well! The edible tie was great. In addition to a Fruit Phone a shoe phone would have been nice.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2017 01:13 am (UTC)
Plausible but bad ideas a real challenge-- the instinct is to create something good, or come up with something so obviously bad that even the creator would know it was worthless.

I would still like a shoe phone, and more importantly... a Cone of Silence. Especially at the office!
penpusherpenpusher on January 8th, 2017 11:35 pm (UTC)
And they ask where the next big ideas are coming from?!

This was fun, but look at all the great concepts you're just giving away!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2017 01:13 am (UTC)
Hahaha! You know, I could really see someone trying to push the Fruit Phone forward as a gag gift. Why not fruit-shaped burner phones?
blahblahblah, whateverkathrynrose on January 9th, 2017 12:03 am (UTC)
I used to have a self-cleaning litter box. I loved that thing, but the maintenance was a pain. It's kind of like an electric can opener, you know? When you have to take it apart and clean it, you remember how easy it is to just do it by hand. :)

Great take on the prompt!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
I've heard so many stories of cats who become afraid of the mechanized litter box, because you know-- it's A.L.I.V.E!! And then the resulting problem is much worse than cleaning cat litter.

But it's relatively easy to do it yourself, and I would NOT want to take one apart and deal with trapped, fermented poop later on. Ugh.
marlawentmadmarlawentmad on January 9th, 2017 12:08 am (UTC)

I agree, your knack for tone and voice is superb.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2017 01:21 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!

This kind of 'voice' just brings a character to life for me. I tend to be voice-driven in a lot of my writing, and I get a very clear sense of who this guy is-- and so does he.

Thanks for reading!
m_malcontent: Marvinm_malcontent on January 9th, 2017 03:22 pm (UTC)
Ah the inventors life.

Right after Chernobyl, Corona Beach Club shirts were popular. I wanted to market a Chernobyl Beac h Club shirt with a radiation symbol.

Nice entry.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2017 09:50 pm (UTC)
You know, I think you could have probably sold that t-shirt, too. Cruel humor never gets old!
bleodsweanbleodswean on January 9th, 2017 04:50 pm (UTC)
Heh. So cute. I love how you take the strange but ordinary parts of this world and break them down and analyze them and present them back with some sort of recognizable vernacular that just rings true!

On a sidenote, my son fell madly in love with "as seen on tv" products once we decided to get TV after being TV-free for a decade....and he believed all the ads and purchased numerous products. Some of them actually work! And some...not so much. I love how the commercials now rhyme! What's up with that?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 02:30 am (UTC)
It was fun creating a backstory for Heelies that would have made sense to a guy like this (because that was a fad both our kids bought into, and were never good at), and thinking up his bad inventions was tough!

I was there for all the K-Tel and Ronco products years ago, and then nothing for decades until my kids started talking about Cham-wow. Cham WHAT?

When the product spokesman for various whizzy things die, they also knew who he was, and I had no idea!
mamas_minionmamas_minion on January 9th, 2017 11:38 pm (UTC)
This was amusing, I like the tone of this piece. It sounds like someone you would see on an information late at night. Trying to sell you some useless gadget or something. Actually me and my wife had just watched the The father of Invention" with Kevin Spacey were he played a character like the author of this piece.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
How was it? I kind of have a weakness for Kevin Spacey that dates back to Wiseguy. :O
(no subject) - mamas_minion on January 10th, 2017 03:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Jenmy_name_is_jenn on January 10th, 2017 12:52 am (UTC)
Well, Chrysler has announced a concept for a selfie-taking car, so you're right. Anything can happen.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
This poor guy is exactly the sort who would get behind ideas no one wants, and be convinced he's the oracle on stuff that will never take off... until it DOES. :D
waveform_deltawaveform_delta on January 10th, 2017 05:38 am (UTC)
I love how this captures the weird agony of coming up with ideas.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 06:42 am (UTC)
It was agony for me as a writer, too. Not just ideas, but which ones are good enough to mention? Which ones are bad enough to work for this character?

And then which ones people will actually buy? That's a whole different question. Because, Chia Pet. :O
Raised by Wolvessinnamongirl on January 10th, 2017 08:27 am (UTC)
You captured a great voice, so much personality coming through!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Characters like this just crack me up-- they're irrepressible. :D
magazhchi: pic#126839207magazhchi on January 10th, 2017 07:14 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this. Great ideas which are er..bad. You captured the voice bang on.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 08:10 pm (UTC)
It is hard to think up those ideas that someone _might_ think are great but which people won't actually by. And the reverse!

There's a lot of psychology in what people purchase, and it's a fickle and unpredictable thing in that context. :)
dee_aar2dee_aar2 on January 10th, 2017 07:52 pm (UTC)
I have always loved reading you ... this was so great ... refreshing ... and those ideas ... which could have worked but not really .... awesome that you actually came up with those. Edible Tie ... :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 08:11 pm (UTC)
Haha-- thank you so much!

I'm starting to wonder whether the Fruit Phone might have a chance in the Tween/Teen/Hipster market, and then I wonder about myself for even thinking that. :O
Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on January 10th, 2017 09:39 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful! I love the character's voice! I love all the great ideas he *didn't* have! All the ideas he came up with that failed - fantastic!

Awesome piece of writing! Thoroughly enjoyed it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 10th, 2017 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I get such a kick out of characters like this. They're never boring. :D