Columns

2008.09.24 New invention ready to separate brainless from their money

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

By RICH FOLEY

Some of our greatest inventors throughout history are known by all three of their names. Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Alva Edison are two. I’m willing to bet that Michael Dean Mercer won’t be a third.

Mercer, as I’m sure you won’t know, has spent the last 30 years perfecting his invention, which he says is a “solution to every woman’s greatest problem....” Wait, take a guess before reading any further. No, try again. No, you’re still wrong. OK, Michael, what is every woman’s greatest problem? “...falling in the toilet because someone left the toilet seat up.”

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Apparently, Mr. Mercer comes from a family of slow learners. According to his press release, he grew up in a home with two girls and three boys and “a familiar sound heard throughout the house whenever one of the girls went into the washroom was a big SPLASH followed by a yell “PLEASE PUT THE SEAT DOWN!”

You’ll notice he didn’t say this happened once in a while, but “whenever” one of the girls used the facilities. I’d think that one splash would cause a person to look before sitting for a long time, but apparently not in the Mercer household. Mercer even thinks his family is the norm, stating in his press release that “If he knows your family as well as he knows his, he’s pretty sure you (or your wife) go through the same thing over and over again.”

I would hope Mercer is wrong about this. Wouldn’t most people check for the seat’s position when entering a common bathroom or rest room? And did he really need 30 years to invent his “solution,” stickers that say “PLEASE PUT THE SEAT DOWN,” meant to be applied to the underside of the toilet seat?

I’ve never thought that it was that big of a problem. You hear jokes about it on television occasionally, but is it really a big deal in real life? At a former job, a new employee brought the subject up at a staff meeting, suggesting we should have a “company rule” requiring everyone to put the seat down before leaving the rest room. One company smart-aleck (I’ll let you guess who) suggested a different rule requiring people to look before you sit.

Not to start another debate, but why has the put the seat down lobby gained such traction? You never hear anyone insist that sitters put the seat back up when finished, even though I’d guess millions of users would prefer the seat to be up when they enter the room.

No such problems at the Observer, however, as most of us prefer to go home and use our own facilities instead of fighting the rats for possession of the newspaper rest room. Am I exaggerating? Maybe just a little...

Meanwhile, Mercer is anxiously awaiting orders at his website. Yes, a website devoted to the sale of toilet seat stickers, or “ladysavers,” as Mercer prefers to call them. What’s more, Mercer even has a public relations representative to contact for more information, samples, or “to schedule an interview with Mike Mercer.” I wonder if he pays her in sticker—I mean ladysavers?

And there’s so much demand for his time that he needs someone to handle his interview inquiries? I find that hard to believe. What would you ask him after the obvious question, “It took you 30 years to invent a toilet seat sticker?”  Well, I can think of one follow-up question, “Is it me, or are you and your entire family insane?”

Besides, I already know that Mercer isn’t that busy as his website promises that “For only $6.95 Mike will personally send you FIVE ladysavers.com stickers!”  Plus $1.50 shipping and handling, of course. Maybe if you ask, he’ll even autograph the stickers. He obviously has plenty of time on his hands.

I should mention that Mercer is an Ohio native, hailing from Lakewood, but he’s hardly in the class of Buckeye inventors like Edison or Orville Wright. In fact, anyone could duplicate a usable version of his “invention” with a permanent marker and transparent tape. There, I just invented a substitute for ladysavers you can make cheaply at home in a minute or two.

Just think of all the money you just saved. And that flushing sound in the background? It’s Mercer’s dreams of millions of sales going down the toilet. I hope the seat was down.

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