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Donna Fielder: Cool ideas fall short of bringing in big bucks

I may have dozed off in my recliner and dreamed it this morning when I thought I was watching the morning news, but I think I was awake and viewing a stunning new addition to the I-this-and-I-that population. It was hailed as the latest thing (and we all know we have to have the very latest I-thing) in electronics.

Maybe I missed part of it, because I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed at the time. But it seemed to be an electronic notepad. It was only $29, and meant for taking notes in school, apparently.

But here’s the thing. When you fill up a page, and I don’t think I was dreaming here, you can click to the next page. But there is no mechanism for saving what you wrote on the first page.

So you can studiously write notes about, say, stegosauruses, for an hour, clicking away the screens as you fill them up, and when class is over your note pad will be just as empty as your head on the subject of stegosauruses.

Where is Steve Jobs when they need him?

I could have been as rich as Steve’s beneficiaries, if I had been a bit luckier. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve had ideas that came just a micro-milliliter short of brilliance, hence, riches.

You remember those little yellow suction-cup cards, those diamond-shaped warnings dangling in the back windows of cars proclaiming, “Baby on Board,” or “Child in Car?”

These were a real help to reckless drivers looking for a likely vehicle to rear-end. When they saw the sign, they took their accidents elsewhere.

Those really caught on and made millions, but the only time I ever saw a real kid in one of those slogan-protected cars he was standing up in the back seat trying to eat the suction cup.

I could have been the one to invent those money-making suction cards. But no. I printed up a bunch of bumper stickers that read, “Octogenarian on board. Go ahead and hit me. I’ve lived a full life.”

They never caught on.

And that wasn’t the only time one of my brainstorms shorted out my pocketbook. Take the halo hoop, for instance. This came out before the hoola hoop that dominated my childhood and caused my parents to enroll me in remedial hip-rolling class after school.

I came up with a prototype of the halo hoop in seventh grade. It consisted of a small glowing hoop that you whizzed around your head. You could stand around pretending to be cool, rotating your head to make it whirl.

One fifth-grader bought it and his parents sued me after he drunkenly lurched into the playground, fell under a merry-go-round and beheaded himself.

I had no better luck with Demented Cement. This was when I was older and found out the benefits of sniffing Crazy Glue. I talked a friend into helping me make a commercial. We glued the helmet of a construction worker to a steel beam 12 stories up.

The glue held but the chin strap broke. It spoiled the effect, I think, when he dropped out of the picture.

We never could get that hard hat loose from that beam and nobody bought any and I got stuck with the merchandise.

I similarly got gobbled up in the alligator shirt craze. If everybody is so wild to get shirts with little reptiles on the pockets, think how many I’d sell if I enclose a live baby gator inside every pocket, I reasoned.

This would have worked. But before I got my advertising campaign going my inventory grew and would no longer fit in the shirt pockets. Then my inventory ate all my pocket stuffers, so I gave up the project.

I also bombed with my Scratch ’n Sniff chigger medication and Muffy’s Add-a-Beady-Eyes mascara.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot with the micro-minivans that came in shirt sizes. They featured several colors and attached to your body with Velcro. There was even a place to hang a yellow “Baby on Board” sign but there was no room for baby.

But now I have come up with a winner, and it will compete strongly with the I-Pad. It’s called the Eye-Pad. You place it over your eyes when you crawl into your recliner and start to watch the morning news. It shows Good Morning America on the backs of your eyelids.

I posted a sign on my Facebook page this morning that read, “I tried to log in on my I-Pad. It turned out to be an Etch-a-Sketch, and I don’t own an I-Pad. Also, I’m out of wine.”

That is the story of my life.

DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is