For years he had agonized over it. Discarded prototypes and half-finished blueprints were haphazardly strewn about his unfinished basement, making navigation almost impossible for the rare visitor who might wander into Charles’ dimly lit domain. On that uncommon occasion his door was not locked and one was willing to make the treacherous trip down the twenty-one steps, you would doubtless find Charles bent over his work desk in the far left corner of the basement. Working with such severe concentration and making only the occasional subdued movement, it would appear to the careless observer that he had fallen asleep if not for the left foot that was always tapping away at some nameless tune.
He was so close, he could feel it in his nose hairs. His other designs had been lacking in one key component or another, although there had been a few successes, the Blatant Bookmark for one. Charles’ chuckled as he recalled how book-lovers, introverts and your run-of-the-mill misanthropes all raced to replace their tasseled markers with Charles’ less-than-cordial bookmark designs. Utilizing a wrap-around design, the Blatant Bookmark held the reader’s place with one side while the other faced out over the cover and announced to any and all who threatened to interrupt an engaged reader not to bother. In bold letters, the bookmark all but screamed phrases like, “Can’t you see I’m reading?” and “Hold that thought, I need to finish this chapter”. People actually began to buy books just so they could display their Blatant Bookmark. This of course irritated Charles who quickly discontinued them.
Scrapping yet another sketch, Charles sighed in frustration. Would his dream ever come to fruition? Throwing his #2 pencil down, Charles arched his back and rubbed the nape of his neck, allowing his eyes to drift aimlessly around the garage. Lighting upon his old sleeping bag on the self above the cluttered mess that covered the under-utilized washer and dryer, an idea suddenly struck him. It was so simple, could it possibly work? Grabbing his trusty #2, Charles set to work on a fresh sketch. Working furiously for hours, he finally sat back and grinned, “This just might work,” he said to the empty basement.
And that is how a socially-awkward and conversationally-challenged bookworm changed the landscape of how many of us now read while in public- especially those of us who do not care to be disturbed. From that humble beginning in a cluttered and dingy basement sprang to life the design for the Book Bungalow. A simplistic design, the Book Bungalow combined the concept of the common sleeping bag and the folding technique of a road map and managed to constuct it in such a way that it ultimately took the shape of a book jacket. So, when a book enthusiast wished to be left to read in peace, they would simply unfold their Book Bungalow, step into the center and fasten the clasps around them, instantly providing a personal reading haven that doubled as a buffer from the outside world. The material used was rigid enough to stand, opaque enough to conceal and allowed for plenty of ventilation at each of its edges. In many ways, it resembled a small outhouse in its shape when fully erected. The design was an instant phenomenon. Publishers the globe over were soon demanding the Book Bungalow for all their hardback best sellers. Amazon.com wasn’t far behind and began offering the Book Bungalow as a stand-alone option in several sizes and colors.
Charles couldn’t be bothered with any of that however. He had one care, one goal of his life and he had fulfilled it. Happily, Charles sits in his own custom Book Bungalow, oblivious to his own fame and amassing fortunes, and reads from sun-up to sun-down.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Today marks maybe one of the longest work days for me each year- the UCF Grad Fair. After working a full eight hours I then have the pleasure of spending another two and a half hours talking to undergraduate students about their potential application to my program. Ok, to be honest, I actually really enjoy this event, I like helping students and giving them information that for the most part, helps alleviate some of the stress that goes into applying to graduate school (a sometimes daunting task). What I don’t like is the downtime prior to the doors opening where all the different staff and program representatives pass the time by chatting and scoping out the other programs. Well, I tried to play that game. And I got shut down. Then I got ignored. So, I resolved to just read my book until the moment that students were allowed in- I’m not a huge fan of small talk anyway. Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as I picked up my book, someone decided that they wanted to chat with me. Awesome. Being ignored, snubbed even, and then interrupted all from my supposed colleagues, immediately put me in a foul mood. While I brooded I also began to daydream about a solution that could shield me from such awful social interactions… what if my book could transform into a big book that I could just climb into? What if there was something that, while reading, could encircle me in a protective layer and deflect any judgment or potential interruptions? Man, that would be sweet. So sweet in fact, I decided to invent one… I mean, Charles invented one.
Love & Squirrels.