Who invented sliced bread?

Even before wanting to be an international rock star, or even the restaurateur I eventually became, I wanted to be an inventor. I liked the idea of being the first person to ever have thought of something, it seemed like a pretty easy job and it could make me rich. It was obviously the perfect career. And I came up with loads of ideas. The only problem was, other people seem to have invented them as well. But before me.

I remember an episode of Tomorrow’s World where it appeared to me that someone had read my mind and stolen the idea of a bicycle tyre that couldn’t be punctured. I’d envisaged a tyre filled with a sponge-like substance rather than just air and I’m convinced to this day that I thought of it before anyone else – or at least before I saw it on the TV. Anyway, seeing as my bike still gets punctures, I guess it wasn’t exactly an idea to retire on.

I invented loads of things: low-cost household burglar alarms before anybody had them, lights that came on when you entered a room (obviously those ideas were related), a pocket version of the old manual credit card machine that could be used when there wasn’t a desk or table available. I’m actually a virtual millionaire.

Sadly, just like the young songwriters of my youth, I don’t seem to be coming up with quite so many ideas anymore. Or maybe the world’s running out of things to invent.

But no. You may remember that a couple of years ago it was announced that we could now buy pre-boiled eggs and I don’t think even I could have come up with such an audacious invention. It’s the ideal product for all those people who haven’t even got the time, or the intelligence to plan ahead, to put a pan of water on to boil while they clean their teeth in the morning and then drop an egg into it for three or four minutes while they struggle into their socks.

And talking of socks, maybe I do have a new idea. How about socks that are already on? Think about the time you could save by not having to put your socks on if you had them on already! I’m not sure if it’s a money-maker but it’s a great idea even though my wife doesn’t seem to agree.

I’m not sure if my let’s-leave-the-car-running-overnight-for-a-quick-start-in-the-morning idea is foolproof and it might need a little work yet.

But here’s another one for free. You could save so much precious time by not actually closing your front door. Just think of the seconds lost everyday by arriving at the door and fumbling around for the key before inserting in the lock and turning the handle. It must add up to five minutes of one’s lifetime and considering mine seems to be whizzing past so fast, I’d be grateful for those extra minutes. But maybe I shouldn’t tell you where I live. Or maybe I should just plan ahead a little and have the key ready as I approach the door.

I’m not actually that convinced about this egg idea. Sure it’ll save valuable time for doing something or other. Maybe watching cookery programmes on TV. But when you are told that 60% of 14 year olds have never even tried to boil an egg, what hope is there for the human race’s knowledge about the food we eat? I’ve long maintained that if we can’t cook, there’s no way we can understand one of the most important subjects in our lives: eating. And if we’re now happy to buy pre-boiled eggs, what’s left to cook?

However, since their announcement, I haven’t seen therm in the shops so maybe they haven’t made their inventor a millionaire. But I think the guy who invented sliced bread has a lot to answer for – in his wealthy retirement.

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