A local business newspaper just announced that it will honor forty “outstanding young people” for their entrepreneurship. The paper will recognize ten individuals per week, which, apparently, will give it enough time and column space to do the honoring. That’s if newspapers still measure stories in columns. And that’s if the newspaper is really a newspaper. I believe they call them “zines” now (rhymes with beans), but I could be wrong.
Once all forty entrepreneurs have been honored there will be a grand “fête” to celebrate. Personally, I prefer the term “soirée,” but I tip my chapeau to the French-major intern at the paper who wrote that. This new feature will appear under the title, “40 Under 40,” which means these outstanding young people are as old as 39, which doesn’t exactly make them young unless you count 40 as the new 20, which I’m perfectly willing to do as long as I get to subtract twenty years for myself. If so, that would make me eligible to be honored. And I could submit quite a portfolio.
I don’t like to brag, but I’ve had a series of business ideas that went nowhere, including a rubber suction mat to prevent your pet’s dish from sliding across the floor to a snow shovel in the shape of a plow called “Snow Flow” and self-repairing car paint. That last one never got off the ground (hit the road?), mainly because I don’t have an advanced degree in polymer chemistry. Then again, Elon Musk doesn’t have any formal training in rocketry, so go figure. In my defense, I should point out that I took (and passed) Organic Chemistry in college. I’m surprised DuPont never offered me a job (see Nine Lives).
My latest adventure was a company called Robert Brevet that manufactured “healthy” French macarons that were bite-sized and came in a mesh bag so you could take them to the gym and snack on them between workouts on the stair master or master stair or whatever it is that single, professional, lonely women work out on. That was our target market, figuring that no respectable guy, even a Frenchman, would be caught dead eating a French apple, burgundy, or chocolate macaron at the bench press. Without getting into the Roundup-resistant weeds, know that Robert Brevet exists now in name only (see A Mercenary of Macarons), although if you’re interested in a deal on grape seed flour, write to me on this blog’s Contact page. I’ll set you up.
Last week I wrote about a job I had years ago where my boss told the “jack story” (see “Take Your Jack and Shove It!”). I had an intuition back then about my future. Even though I was in my mid twenties, I had a sense that things wouldn’t really come together for me until later in life, even as an old man. I remember saying how some people peaked at a young age (e.g., Shirley Temple), others at mid life (e.g., the Forty-Niners’ Ronnie Lott), and others in old age (e.g., George Burns). This is not to say these people did nothing beyond their peak years, just that they seemed to reach their zenith then.
Following that same intuition, I am setting the goal for myself of being named one of a hundred “outstanding old people” under a hundred. If the same newspaper is still around (if I’m still around), picture a feature entitled, “100 Under 100.” That should give me enough time either to perfect the self-repairing paint formula (I may have to get a doctorate in polymer chemistry), or come up with an entirely new invention that will revolutionize an industry.
To wit, at one point I imagined a device that would allow airline passengers to urinate in a tube at their seat without having to jockey for a restroom on the plane. Of course, compromises would have to be made regarding privacy, but they peed and crapped out in the open at the Palace of Versailles, so maybe it won’t be such a big deal on an airplane. Flight attendants could pass out pamphlets about the court of King Louis XIV as people did their business.
A more challenging problem arose regarding how to make the tubing unisex. Never solved that one. There was the option of having it double as a breast pump, but that didn’t really solve anything. It just satisfied the equity police. I don’t know if they’ll ask me about the airline tube when they interview me for “100 Under 100,” but I figure I have enough time to find a solution. I think I’ll wear my blue blazer.