DAILY PROMPT: WORLD’S BEST WIDGET
You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?
Call me a wimp, or just plain lazy, but I don’t want to invent anything.
I mean, think about it.
You’ve invented this magical widget guaranteed to better the lives of millions worldwide, but before you can launch it to go about its business, every government department in existence (and a few more that invent themselves instantly to grab part of the action) will need to pull it apart, analyse it, submit each of its components to rigorous testing and call in scientific committees to pontificate over its ramifications, before they declare it safe, viable, childproof and therefore fit for human consumption, use or acceptance. And for this privilege, you’ll be required to hand over large sums of money to defray the expenses of those already paid from your taxes.
And that’s only in your country of origin. If you’re ambitious enough to want your invention released in other countries, you’ll need to suffer the entire process again (presumably with similar hefty payments for each national stamp of approval) as many times as your vision extends.
And that, dear friends, is only the beginning. Once your brainchild hits the open market amidst fanfares of trumpets and cries of delight, you’ll be swamped by folks claiming pre-existing patents and breaches of copyright. You’ll marvel, in fact, that the world has enough woodwork to house them all. But you’ll be required to defend yourself against them – and we all know how expensive lawyers can be.
But sooner or later, the tumult and the shouting will die. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief and prop your feet up with quite justifiable pride. It’s all been worth it. Years might pass. You’ll think you’re safe. But don’t fool yourself. A switch will flip in the brains of those who lapped up your invention and bettered themselves accordingly, and they’ll see the Light. The Light of Litigation.
Need I go on? Class actions, labyrinthine claims of damages, intricate webs of cause and effect all traceable to you, whose only thought was to spread a little sweetness and light.
What then? Shoot yourself? With a bit of luck, your heirs and assigns could sue the gun manufacturer.
Sic transit gloria mundi…