Thrilling Tales of Human Ingenuity: The Lazy Susan

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

– Unknown

The products of our ingenuity surround us and construct the framework of the modern world. Smartphones. Computers. Cheese that sprays from a can. Each of these items evolved in response to an obvious human need.

But what of the Lazy Susan? What crisis faced a past generation and spurred the development of this miracle of rotational technology?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antique_Lazy_Susan.jpg

A Lazy Susan
PD image via Wikimedia Commons

Let us open the eye of our imagination and see the world as it might have been during those dark times…

*     *     *

Susan’s Mom gazed across the dinner table at her daughter. “Susan, dear…would you please pass the mashed potatoes?”

Grunting like one pitting her strength against the weight of a hundred mountains, Susan trembled as her quivering hand reached forward, only to collapse in exhaustion next to the gravy boat, her fingers twitching like the legs of a dying spider. “I…I can’t,” she gasped. “But could you put potatoes in my mouth and use your hands to work my jaw and simulate chewing? I’m so hungry, but I’m so lazy.”

“I will do nothing of the sort, young lady,” Susan’s Mom said. “I will instead find a way to thwart your laziness and taste sweet, delicious vengeance, if not mashed potatoes.”

Mother and daughter glared at each other in silence, hungry and with mashed potatoes uneaten and cooling between them.

*     *     *

The next day, Susan’s Mom gazed across the dinner table at her daughter. “Susan, dear…would you please pass the baby back ribs?”

“I…I can’t,” Susan gasped. “I’m so hungry, but I’m so lazy.”

A Lazy Susan PD image via Wikimedia Commons

A Golden Lasso
PD image via Wikimedia Commons

Susan’s Mom thundered to her feet with enough force to topple her chair. “I know what will thwart your laziness.” She conjured a golden lasso that glowed with mystical power.  “Behold!”

“Did you just borrow my golden lasso without asking?” Susan asked.

“You’re not beholding. Now watch.”

Whirling the golden lasso over her head like a human helicopter, Susan’s Mom tossed the rope across the table, draping the loop over the baby back ribs. She laughed in triumph and pulled the lasso taut, then yanked the charred and succulent flesh towards her.

Her powerful arms sent the baby back ribs soaring past her to smash through the dining room window in a shower of shattered glass and tangy barbecue sauce. In the courtyard outside, her hunting dogs fell upon the unexpected feast with a slavering, ravenous hunger.

Mother and daughter glared at each other in silence, hungry and with the smoky aroma of baby back ribs heavy in the air.

*     *     *

The day after that, Susan’s Mom gazed across the dinner table at her daughter. “Susan, dear…would you please pass the chocolate chip pancakes with cinnamon honey syrup?”

“I…I can’t,” Susan gasped. “I’m so hungry, but I’m so lazy.”

“This time I will thwart your laziness for certain,” Susan’s Mom said. “Notice anything different about the serving tray?”

Susan expended a small amount of precious energy to inspect what lay beneath the pancakes. “Wait…are you using a miniature catapult as a serving tray?”

“I am.” Lashing out with a fist of triumph, Susan’s Mom mashed the catapult’s firing lever. The stack of pancakes vaulted upwards, sticking to the ceiling like a wet washcloth thrown against a shower wall–and with a similar sound, too.

Mother and daughter glared at each other in silence, hungry and with cinnamon honey syrup dripping from the ceiling between them.

*     *     *

Grammofono_pathe,_modele_G,_del_1904-05,_museo_caruso_02

CC image by Sailko via Wikimedia Commons

The next morning, Susan’s Mom took her breakfast in the drawing room so she could listen to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and develop a new stratagem to thwart her daughter’s laziness.

After finishing her breakfast taco, she stood by the phonograph, mesmerized by the shining record as it spun around and around beneath the needle…

Her eyes flicked from the phonograph, to the teacup in her hand, and back to the phonograph.

Gently, she lifted the needle and set the cup down on the record near its outer edge, watching as the circular motion moved the cup away from her, back around towards her, and away from her once more–over and over until she reclaimed it.

Wild with mad delight, Susan’s Mom threw back her head and laughed as if discovering laughter for the first time.

*     *     *

That evening, Susan’s Mom gazed across the dinner table at her daughter. “Susan, dear…would you please pass the chili dog casserole?”

“I…I can’t,” Susan gasped. “I’m so hungry, but I’m so lazy.”

“Then watch as I claim my victory and savor my vengeance.”

Leaning forward, Susan’s Mom operated the wooden turntable in front of her, rotating the chili dog casserole within reach of her waiting fork.

Susan gaped in stunned silence. “My word! What do you call this miracle of rotational technology?”

“That’s the best part, dear.” Susan’s Mom began to shovel chili dog casserole onto her plate. “I call it a Lazy Susan. Despair in the knowledge that the world will learn of your laziness and remember it long after you and I are dust.”

Trembling until her body could no longer contain it, Susan released her rage in a great cry of timeless anger and regret…

*     *     *

Do you have a thrilling tale of human ingenuity you’d like to share?  What about a recipe for chocolate chip pancakes with cinnamon honey syrup?  And how much did the pirate pay to have his ears pierced?

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6 thoughts on “Thrilling Tales of Human Ingenuity: The Lazy Susan

  1. Kirsten

    I will never look at the Lazy Susan the same way again! What a great invention, don’t you think?
    Great story. 🙂
    As for human ingenuity, I’m rather partial to that thing you stick the butter in to coat the corn on the cob. But that could just be me, and that thing needs a cool name like Lazy Susan. 😉

    Reply
  2. sarafoster456366383

    Fantastic! Have you ever seen http://www.significantobjects.com. These two guys wanted to see if they could sell useless junk by writing compelling fictional stories about the junk and then selling it on ebay. It worked. They bought a $1 mug from a second hand store and sold it for $50, and so on. You may just have a career in writing stories for money (via ebay.)

    And to your friend looking for a name for the corn buttering product, I was given a little plastic guy who holds the butter in his tummy and makes it easy for you to spread it on the corn. His name on the package was “The Butter Buddy.”

    Reply
    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      That site looks a treasure trove of awesome…and I see they even got some notable authors to contribute stories. Thanks for the link 🙂

      “The Butter Buddy” sounds like an ingenious device. I’ve looked for him on Google but didn’t get any hits for quite what you describe. The closest thing is a “Butter Boy” where you apparently hide butter inside him and then rip his plastic head off to apply it to stuff.

      Reply

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