Homemade devices best left at home

By Baxter Black: PNT columnist

Those of you who watch television appreciate the increasing presence of “hard-sell, direct-buy” commercials on the cable and satellite networks.

The pitch involves an inventive but cheaply produced product like squeegees, stick-on light bulbs, sunglasses, vegetable choppers, political promises and collision chasing lawyers.

“Only $19.95! It will peel grapes, oranges, window trim, excess hair, heel scurf and tar off sidewalks … etc, etc, etc!”

The ad companies are always on the lookout for new inventions they can market for millions. On a trip to Cedarville a while back, Rachael and James told me a story that I immediately recognized for its mass-market advertising potential.

It seems Uncle Jack had diagnosed bilateral pink eye in one of his black angus bulls. (Note: before you say anything, I observed that I had rarely seen pink eye in black bulls, but Rachael stuck to her guns so I didn’t quibble.)

Uncle Jack decided to treat it with a big shot of LA 200.

The bull was difficult to push, much less get into the corral, so Uncle Jack figgered they could drive up next to him and administer the dose freehand. They tried but the bull was too skittish.

What to do? What to do?

Just as fear is the father of fence chargers and whacking your thumb is the stepfather of cussing, so is necessity the mother of invention. Uncle Jack set about constructing the Plastic Syringe Injection Extender — a PSIE.

He used a plastic disposable syringe, four feet of 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe, 4 1/2 feet of one-inch PVC pipe and duct tape. He taped the big PVC to the syringe, then inserted the one-inch PVC inside the larger to act as a plunger!

Voila!

He practiced on apples, Styrofoam, a roasted chicken, an old car seat and his late grandfather’s prosthesis. (Note: you can almost see the carnival barker demonstrating this PSIE on sliced cantaloupe or an anesthetized polar bear.)

For the maiden run they took the pickup. Rachael was driving and James was coaching as Uncle Jack leaned out of the pickup bed shouting directions: “Closer! Too fast! Drop back! Hard right! Go now!”

With the coolness of Capt. Ahab harpooning a white whale, Jack drove home his PSIE javelin. With the quickness of a maddened rhino, the blind bull pivoted perpendicular to the pickup, tore off the side mirror and jerked Uncle Jack overboard.

EPILOGUE: “Gosh,” I asked James. “Was the mirror the only thing he broke?”

“No,” said James, “but that was the one we fixed.”