Writing Switch: Creations of modern unnecessity | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Creations of modern unnecessity

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

As Nathan Fielder once said, “Nobody knows to ask for something that hasn’t been invented yet.” We found this to be true as we sat in our inventing workshop and were shooting blanks. A double-chambered prophylactic? No, we don’t want to be on THIS side of THAT lawsuit. But always committed to making the world a better place, we endeavored to offer humanity the following inventions, if someone wants to crowdfund us and also teach us how to 3D print.

Jerry Signals

SB: For people like myself and Ben, when he decides to ski more than once a week, riding with earbuds isn’t a problem because no one is really passing us. I’m not boasting; it’s what happens after spending a quarter of a year on the mountain for a decade.

However, for people who prefer tunes but suck at skiing or snowboarding, there’s a certain amount of chaos that comes with falling-leafing it down a crowded blue, unable to see what’s behind you while also deaf to the sounds of edges scraping around you. Throw in fogged up goggles and you’re practically Helen Keller on skis. Add booze and it’s mountain full of shit-canned blind, deaf, dumb and numb skiers.

Enter the Jerry Signals. It’s a pair of sensors hooked up to your Bluetooth that beep when someone is approaching from behind to the right or left, beeping faster the closer a person is and beeping in the ear corresponding to the side of the approaching skier.

You could argue it’s sensory overload but there has to be a better way for these Ikon Pass holders, who are good enough to be on expert runs but not good (or polite) enough to stay out of the way, to be aware of their surroundings.

Legal Pseudonym Generator

BW: Changing your name is an arduous process that requires many forms, a hearing and a petition. I really don’t want to knock on doors gathering signatures from my neighbors about my identity, nor do I desire explaining to a jury of my peers why I suddenly want to be known as “Rusty Thrustwell.” With this device your inconspicuous pseudonym is instantly valid in the eyes of the law, letting you open new Venmo accounts to scam people on Tinder, fly in a plane without your warrants coming up, and get back into all the bars you’ve been 86’ed from. Congratulations, Gizelle Holcombe!

Personally, I’d prefer to swap to a more genderly androgynous name, like Avery, Jordan or Taylor. I think I would get more followers and have better luck with interview requests if it’s plausible I’m an attractive woman. Then I walk in with a gruff ass voice and say “Hey, I’m Shelby,” and watch their faces droop.

Have you ever gotten 100 likes on anything? I get eight notifications and I’m like “Hell yeah, so funny and popular.” Then a hot chick checks in at Red Lobster and breaks the internet. Also this invention delivers a static shock everytime you sound like an incel. Ouch!

Screen Time Sphinx

SB: I’ve been trying to cut back on my screen time if for no other reason than it’s exhausting. No rant coming, it’s a lot and I’d rather be old-fashioned bored than scrolling-through-drivel bored.

I’m assuming there are already apps that track screen time and lock you out after so many hours. However, how about an emoji in the top corner of your phone that progressively gets annoyed then angry the longer you’re on your phone?

Eventually, when you reach your limit, the emoji turns into a sphinx and asks you riddles about what you just consumed for the past seven hours. If you answer wrong, the sphinx posts a link from your previous Google Incognito webpage to all of your 16 social media platforms.

You want a real disincentive to not playing on your phone for hours? How about your family getting a link to your latest PornHub encounter? The catch is, if what you wasted half your day scrolling through was that entertaining/memorable, then you should know where Karen McConnell ate dinner. If you mixed up Karen’s recent trip to Olive Garden with Outback Steakhouse, just hope your last dark web session was tasteful. (Narrator: “I was not tasteful.”)

Movie Writes

SB: In order to avoid movie studios making bad movies and good actors hurting their career by starring in them, there should be an anonymous forum where actors can float films they’re thinking about doing and get feedback. I stress anonymous for the actors’ sake because if everyone knew it was The Rock, they’d just like it because everyone likes The Rock.

To that I say, if an actor floated out the premise of “Skyscraper” — the forgettable Dwayne Johnson as an amputee in “Die Hard” movie that I fell asleep to twice — I think people probably would’ve voted it down.

Side note: It might have worked with a different actor, but The Rock’s upper body weighs more than like two full-grown men, so you never really thought of him as an underdog even with the prosthetic legs.

Movie Writes also would have a vetting process and commenters would be tracked. You’d answer a series of questions that would figure out which types of movies you like/know the best to set you up with favorable genres. If you pitched me a romantic drama, the feedback would be largely negative because I’m definitely not the target audience.

Also, as a commenter’s success rate grows, so would their profile rank. Say your ratio of approved scripts to blockbusters reaches like 75% — who in the movie industry wouldn’t want access to that data? (Feedback wouldn’t be shared either to avoid piggybacking/groupthink with people who are proven to know good ideas.) And more importantly, name an actor who wouldn’t want to avoid missteps like the “Post Man” or whatever Val Kilmer did that led to him gaining a couple biscuits and being irrelevant. ​

Cynner the Cynicism Hug Doll

BW: The self-help industry is vast, so it’s no wonder Sean and I haven’t gained much traction in it yet. You’d think our niche-market brand of motivation would be popular, but instead everyone just wants a talking stuffed animal to tell them everything is going to be all right. But what if you’re more on the pessimistic side?

Enter Cynner the Cynicism Hug Doll.

I don’t want to hear a cuddly robot tell me I’m spectacular and that all my dreams will come true. I want to be lulled to sleep by the voice of Jeremy Irons saying “Ehh, what’s the worst that can happen?” or “I’m really not scared about coronavirus because I’m not old or a baby. I’m a strapping young man!”

Think of a haunted version of Teddy Ruxpin, or a Peekaboo Bear, for all you readers still playing with toys.

Sometimes not everyone needs to be uplifted, but reminded it’s OK to be sad and that we are all Cynners.

Which brings us to…

Killedswitch Emergency App

BW: Nobody is expecting to die early or by accident. And if you’re like me — and God bless you if you are — your last thought in a maybe-gonna-die scenario is “shit when was the last time I cleared my browser history?” Always thinking of others, up until the last moments.

With this app, you can give a trusted friend a code to enter in the unfortunate event of your untimely demise, and all your devices and social media accounts immediately get locked down and/or wiped, depending on your user settings. Photos, files, documents, OnlyFans accounts — gone with a flick of the Killedswitch, erasing all digital memories your family will have of you. Disclaimer: You may want to have a little chit-chat with this person before giving them the responsibility of your legacy.

“Killedswitch” is what our editors are going to say they did with our column. sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com