Sometimes, you forget simple things had to be invented. Like the fork, for example. Nobody used forks before Middle Easterners started around 1000 B.C. and Europeans didn't catch on until, believe it or not, 1600. Even then, the fork was denounced as effeminate and "an insult to God" and took another couple centuries before it was sleeping in the cutlery drawer next to the spoon and knife. Before the fork? I think people just ate onion rings. I could be wrong about that, though.
Anyway: I can lay odds that everyone reading this used a fork in the last twenty four hours. Unless someone reading this is a gaucho, which involves eating off a giant knife, which means they can do whatever the hell they want. (And they do. In fact, they wear these thingies that sort of look like diapers but I'd never think of pointing that out because, again: big knives).
Then there's the umbrella. Fairly cheap, completely useful, and you can keep it in your purse (I mean...um...backpack). Like the fork: simple genius. Sure, there are other ways of staying dry: the huddling-under-overhang move favored by dillydallyers, the news-paper-as-mortarboard move favored by the incredibly prepared, the garbage-bag-with-neck-hole favored by, among others, Coco Chanel, but the umbrella is superior to them all. It's to staying-dry what the napkin is to not-wiping-Cheetos-on-your-pants.
But, see, I've got this problem. I lose things. I mean, I left my keys onstage at the Riott festival and told everyone Sage Francis stole them. My wallet is always in a pocket or on a horizontal surface somewhere, I just never know which one unless I'm sitting on the bus and my ass is falling asleep. I haven't had a phone charger since they arrested the Unibomber. Also: I'm prone to breaking things. At least half my shoes have holes in them, all my earphones make that yelling-through-shredded-paper noise and, inexplicably, I'm on my third melodica in 18 months. Which is to say I go through an umbrella about every week. If I ride the bus, I leave it under my seat. If I go in a store, I leave in the trash can up front. If I'm walking down the street, I swing it around in circles until it separates uselessly. So then, I have to buy a new one. I'm like an umbrella junkie. The people at Walgreen's at two umbrellas away from cutting me off. They're the dealer who cares. That's their new slogan, in fact.
So what I need is a disposable umbrella. I need to invent this. An umbrella that costs, say, 50 cents, and that you can leave anywhere and you won't slap your forehead when you realize that you're getting home soggy again. Wait. Wait. That's just the newspaper-on-your-head thing, isn't it? Perhaps I've been looking at this all wrong. I'd rather not spend the 50 cents on a Chronicle if Jon Carroll is on vacation.
Maybe I can call Oswald Cobblepot. I bet he knows the score.