As I was straining the greens before leaving work this afternoon, it occurred to me that an actual person invented those little rubber mats that sit awkwardly in the belly of their white porcelain hosts. Someone with the nous to recognise the perils of splashback, and the business acumen to get them into pretty much every tinklehaus in the country. So I tried to imagine taking the initial concept to pitch. Like you do:
Institute of Industrial Design: Thanks for coming in. How can we help you?
Me: I’ve invented something very small and simple that will change life as we know it.
IID: Oh good. What precisely is it?
Me: It’s a little rubber mat that stops piss flying up into your face.
IID: Sorry, we didn’t quite catch that.
Me: A rubber mat. That stops piss flying up into your face. There’s a massive gap in the market.
IID: A gap in the market, you say? For the prevention of flying piss?
Me: Yes. It’s an age-old problem.
IID: That has not once been flagged up. Until today.
Me: Just because no one’s flagged it up doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Try telling that to Apple.
IID: Except Apple almost singlehandedly advanced computer technology, hardware aesthetics and consumer demand beyond anything previously imagined. Are you seriously suggesting you can do something similar with the toilet?
Me: Correct. There will come a time when we cannot envisage life without them. Like cat’s eyes. And the vacuum cleaner. Have some faith.
IID: And does your little mat have a name?
Me: Not yet – I’m just the ideas guy. But I’m thinking it could be a bit of fun; something to take their minds off it.
IID: Off what, exactly?
Me: That they’re basically spraying piss all over the place.
IID: Fun doesn’t quite spring to mind.
Me: Of course it does! How about “The Guzzler – putting the fun back into functional”. See? It’s even got its own strapline.
IID: The Guzzler?
Me: Why not? Does what it says on the tin. And it alludes to the piss ending up inside The Guzzler and not all over the end user; without making a huge song and dance about it.
IID: Is this your first business venture, by any chance?
Me: I’ve had heaps of ideas. But this is the one I’ve been most excited about.
IID: Of course. And you’ve told no one else about it?
Me: No one at all. Intellectual property and all that. I wasn’t born yesterday.
IID: Splendid! Could you leave a copy with us? And help yourself to a Malteser on the way out, we’ll be in touch.
And that would have been it. Followed by unimaginable wealth, admiration from my peers and a lifestyle lesser mortals can only dream of. All of this from a bit of rubber with a few holes in it. So reach for the stars, my friends. Just don’t let on to Durex…