Domestic soap opera with a sticky end.
My wife Patricia has "uninvented" the soap recess in the hand basin at our home.
And I must confess that I have been incredibly slow to recognise the magnitude of her achievement.
Let me explain.
Patrica is firmly of the opinion that it makes no difference whether you park the bar of soap after use in either of the two recesses provided or - horror of horrors - merely on the flat surface of the basin, ignoring the recesses altogether.
And as she is head of the cleaning department at our establishment, she has every reason to know by experience.
I tried, goodness knows how I tried, to talk her out of this heresy.
At first it manifested itself in a stubborn refusal to leave the soap in the left-hand recess where I knew it should go but instead put it in the right-hand recess, on which side the plug is anchored so that on occasion the chain would slice through the wet soap like a hot knife through butter or at least leave a lasting impression.
Perhaps it was partly in compromise, partly in acknowledgement of my arguments that Patricia began to abandon the soap half-way between the recesses.
In vain did I use the irrefutable logic of the male brain to point out that the recesses had been skilfully designed so that the water would run away, leaving the soap dry. (My father was a tiler so I felt a moral compulsion to defend the honour of the professionals.)
Patricia stuck to her guns and referred to the soapy liquid that was being left in the recess. (And, yes, we know all about the trick of hardening your soap by storing it in the airing cupboard but modern soap can be so soft.)
On inspection, she was right. My shaving brush got another daily chore - to brush out the left-hand recess and make it appear more appealing, more worthy of use.
It didn't work. And at least 50% of the time in our house the soap was still being placed as if soap recesses had never been invented.
And then, eventually, I had one of those eureka moments.
Here we are in the 21st century when practically every device worth being invented has already been invented - plus a good many that we never really needed and others that are far too complicated for our own good.
I work using a computer that can do so many things that I swear I only know about 10% of them and use even fewer of its functions.
Since I moved up-market from my first mobile phone I have now reached a level of sophistication that is beyond me. TVs, video recorders, DVD players, iPods, digital cameras, camcorders and the like demand more and more expertise in their use.
Have we reached a watershed in human affairs, I wonder? Is the day over when being an inventor was a noble calling, are we moving into the age of the uninventor?
Just think of the acclaim awaiting the first person to uninvent the speed camera, for instance.
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|Publication:||Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)|
|Date:||Feb 28, 2006|
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