Miniver Cheevy, born too late

14 Apr

Sometimes I have very clever ideas. I also like to spin elaborate possible futures for myself whereby I make my fame and fortune based on these ideas. Pre-Internet, I probably could have gotten away with some of them, but an excess of knowledge requires an excess of due diligence. Here are three things that I invented recently that turn out to already have been invented–in some case, quite a long time ago:

JoJo’s clothing

In the shower the other day, I had a genius idea for a line of baby and toddler clothing upcycled out of thrifted materials. The line would allow me to keep sewing (cheaply) after Abby had grown out of wanting me to sew for her and maybe even make a little money. I chose the name “JoJo” because it sounded kind of cute, and Chris sometimes calls me that. To make sure that I wouldn’t have any competition, I googled “JoJo’s clothing.” Lo and behold, someone else had THE EXACT SAME IDEA: upcycled toddler clothing. Let me repeat that. EXACT IDEA AND NAME.

Discontinuous double plot

I was merrily using this term in my dissertation, very pleased with the notion that I’d invented a new phrase, when I figured I’d better run in through Google Scholar. Lo and behold, someone already invented it. (I couldn’t pull up the same result on Google Scholar just now, but trust me, it’s there.) I can still use the term, obviously, but I now have to replace the introductory phrase, “what I have been calling,” with “what Joseph Allen Boone calls.”

Evidence-Based Parenting

A play on my favorite type of practice, “evidence based practice,” this phrase encompassed for me the type of parenting that relies heavily on studies published in places like The New York Times. (I’m susceptible to this type of parenting myself.) I had all sorts of plans to make a website that would serve as a gathering place for these parents, with book reviews, discussion boards, all sorts of lovely things. I Googled it, and lo and behold … yeah, you can guess the end to this one.

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