Friday, July 15, 2011

Hmmm, I wonder if I could get a patent for this...

New product idea:

The Suffering Scanner will function much like one of those security scanners at the airport. You remove your soul and put it in a plastic bin on the conveyor belt, where it travels through a mysterious box that scans the contents. When the soul plops out on the other side, you retrieve it, shake off the debris of other sufferers it accumulated while inside the machine, and put it back in your body, a bit askew but no worse for the wear.

Only, instead of scanning for guns and knives and nail clippers, this scanner evaluates the level of suffering your soul has endured, and then gives you a printout of your total suffering points, with subtotals by category and a grand total.

These print-outs could become exchangeable commodities analogous to business cards in certain settings, such as group therapy sessions, speed dating events, and political conventions.

I envision job applications as well: for example, postal workers could automatically be given vacation days when they reached a dangerous level of suffering.

One of the most refreshing uses: People's recreational whining could be disregarded when it wasn't justified by provable suffering. You can tell for certain whether that co-worker is truly an unfortunate soul who needs a sympathetic ear, or a drama queen whom you can safely avoid without guilt.

I still have a few details to work out. Should the scan results be relative to others' suffering -- graded on a curve, if you will -- or determined on an absolute scale? If an entire community experiences suffering related to, say, natural disaster, should everyone's scores rise, or should that level of suffering be considered normal for that community, and remain steady?

Should the print-out show number of instances of suffering? Percent of time spent suffering? Degree of suffering? All three? Should the degree of suffering, if listed, be on a logarithmic or an equal scale?

In order to improve my prototype, I need a good sample of souls to work with. Anyone who would like to help, please send your soul to me by overnight UPS. I can't guarantee when it will be returned, so people who aren't actively using theirs, like my exes (especially James), are most encouraged to participate.

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