“Your head is full of great ideas, use them!”. So I read from a fortune cookie when I was 8 and ever since, I’ve followed its homespun knowledge, religiously. Now I’m 52 and the people from the building where I’ve been living since I was a kid knows me as ‘the inventor’, although I’d rather have them call me by my God-given name: Eugenio.
My parents did the impossible just to scrounge enough and pay for my education, even if it meant not having enough money to pay for the expenses incurred by me and my 4 brothers. One day, just after cracking open that fortune cookie, the stove broke and there was no money to pay for the handyman to repair it. I told my now dearly departed father: “Dad, in school they taught us that the power of the Sun is equal or more powerful than gas and electricity, I think we could cook without a stove”.
My dad looked at me, smiling, and went out to the street, meaning to borrow wood and matches. Meanwhile, I ordered my brothers to get me a cardboard box and aluminum foil.
During that night, I covered the box, poked some holes in it and even made a hinged door. Next day was Saturday and I waited for the Sun to come out with bated breath. It was my chance to test out my contraption. At noon, I asked my mother for a glass of water and I carefully put it inside the box. After 15 minutes, the water was boiling! We made rice and soup. My parents carried me in their arms and bragged and boasted to the neighbors until the cows came home. Some of them even asked me to make them their own “solar oven”. I sold ten by the end of that day and with that money we were able to repair the oven, as we did need something to cook dinner and the odd late night snack.
I was always top of my class in school. I even had a scholarship and managed to continue inventing and tinkering ever since the solar oven was a success. When I was 15, I devised a system to prevent shower water from being wasted: all the water that flowed into the drain would end up in a container that would hold it and then be pumped into the toilet for flushing. This one was also popular with the neighbors, so much that the whole system was installed in the building, under the landlord’s orders. At 17, when I started to study Engineering, I managed to create a contraption consisting of a toaster and a coffee machine: the heat emanating from the toaster would heat the coffee, so no energy was wasted in the hot planet beneath the pot.
When I was 22, my father mentioned how he “would love to walk and listen to his favourite music while getting the results from the horse races”. It was 1986 then and a professor shared with me the secret technique to “record” music into a microchip. Using that inside info, a book of matches and a small radio transceiver (my design, of course), I made my dad this small apparatus that fitted like a glove in his pockets, receiving a crystal clear signal from the racetrack’s PA and using ten previously selected tracks as a soundtrack. Opus’ ‘Life is live’ now represents horse racing for me.
I entered my 30s and at 31 I went to study a couple of PhDs in Europe. I was part of a research team who developed a machine that could repair the tarmac on the streets using organic trash and 35% simple polymers. After my 45th birthday, I came back to my country and bury my parents and brothers, who died while on holiday as an earthquake hit the south of the country.
I now live again in the humble building where I grew up. You see? Yes! The one where I invented the humble solar oven for my parents. I now dedicate my every waking moment to develop a reliable method to predict earthquakes.
Words: Homo Rodans
Translation (with a few poetic licenses, natch) : Sam.