Inventor from the past wants to change the future
August 19, 2009
He no longer has all his fingers, chunks of scalp are gone and there are many visible scars on his face. But, none of these incidents seemed to deter my boyhood friend, Jerry, from trying the next stunt, or trying out his next invention.
You see, Jerry and his inventions more than once have put limb and sometimes life at risk. I can recall on several occasions growing up when Jerry's inventions have catapulted him out garage doors, over small trees and into brick walls.
After the crash, shins bleeding, elbows scraped, he'd roll onto his side moaning, "I thought I could make it this time," which seems to be the common characteristic of these kinds of people. Not much could keep Jerry from trying out his latest idea.
There were the go-cart days, when Jerry would tinker and doctor up his four wheels of terror. He'd take it apart, polish here, buff there, putting a bigger engine on it and larger wheels. Jerry would work incessantly to get just another three mph more speed, two more feet of lift and more torque. I on the other hand was left in charge of laying out the stunt, this particular time jumping our farm pond on the back forty. I built the ramp, Jerry was the mechanic and fearless stunt man.
Far as I know the go-cart is still in that pond. We never were able to make a successful crossing...
Thinking back on it now, I don't know who was worse, Jerry for doing the crazy stunts or me for allowing him to do them.
There were several others, involving motorcycles, snowmobiles and junk cars we would get from 'Ma Whetstone's Junkyard.' Jerry's lucky to be here today.
Jerry always seemed to have an idea, an invention he was working on and they all were going to change the world and make us both filthy rich. Our lives have taken us in different directions now, but Jerry is still inventing, still trying to make a better mousetrap so to speak.
Aside from speed and stunts, Jerry also had a practical side, inventions to make everyday life easier and simpler. There was the automated chicken feeder, the gas powered shovel and later his own version of the propane fueled car.
Occasionally, I'd get a call from Jerry with news of his latest invention. Not long ago he called with a muzzleloader he had rigged up which was capable of shooting twice the amount of black powder as the store bought versions. I'm still not sure why it had to shoot more black powder than recommended, but then again why was it so important to jump a go-cart over that farm pond?
Well, the increased black powder idea cost Jerry a few more stitches to the bridge of the nose and partial loss of sight and hearing. Still Jerry continues to invent and continues to scar himself. Years ago he worked out a way to burn corn to heat his home. It wasn't his invention, but he was able to make his own and he actually did heat his home with field corn for years.
But most recently he has been telling me about his new generator, using magnets to create the power. I can't begin to understand how it works, but in theory it makes sense.
Jerry explains, "If opposite poles attract then like poles repel. Are you with me Randy?
"If the magnets are strong enough the force of like poles repelling has been harnessed, turning a piston like drive shaft and in the process generating electricity," Jerry continues.
"It's all based on perpetual motion, once I get it tuned correctly, I'll be able to generate enough electricity to power your home," he told me.
"I have a working model and it does work," he went on to tell me the other day.
"Makes sense," I told him, "and it's lot better than the chicken feeder idea or the muzzleloader."
"We could sell these generators all over world and it would cost you absolutely nothing to operate, no pollution by-products and no costly electric bills to Edison," Jerry went on to tell me.
"But what about Edison? You think they are going to let you market these generators knowing they could potentially put them out of business?" I ask.
"I suppose that will be a problem," Jerry says, less enthusiastically.
"Well, you going to help me, you know, get the word out about this generator?" he asks. In Jerry's mind I suppose, my readership reaches the far corners of the corporate and scientific community.
"I don't think I'm up for a battle with corporate America Jerry," I say.
"I already wrote Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump. I think they will partner with us," he continues, always the optimist, despite the limp from past failures.
"You're going to have to get back to them, they both are going to want to get in on this," Jerry tells me.
"What about Jerry Springer?" I ask, thinking he may show more interest, or the very least get a show out of it.
"Yeah, good idea, give Jerry a call if you got time," he instructs, as he tells me he has to take another call. "There, see why I call my old friend, you're always thinking promotion."
Jerry forgets I couldn't help launch him over the farm pond safely.
You never know...