Dateline: PITTSBURGH—Manny Hornblower, the deaf inventor of the leaf blower, has unveiled a series of new inventions, including the gas-powered page-turner, the motorized tea bag dipper, and the jet-fuelled food-chewing aid.
The gas-powered leaf blower is popular with landscaping companies and when in operation can be heard miles away even when indoors.
“We use it to blow leaves around, to clear lazy people’s lawns,” said professional landscaper Dillon Jerkwad. “Kind of makes you feel like a ghostbuster, since it’s this big old device you wear on your back and you hold this thick hose that comes out the side.
“Noisy AF, that’s for sure. That’s why some of us in landscaping also wear heavy-duty, noise-cancelling earphones. In the business, we call that the Full Asshole. You know, like the Full Monty, except instead of showing your junk on a stage you’re making a god almighty nuisance of yourself in suburbia. I mean, you might as well be going up to strangers and shouting at the top of your lungs in their ears for no reason, all while wearing big earmuffs so you can’t hear a thing and your ears are fully protected.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had folks come up to me and give me dirty looks while I’m waking up the dead, blowing leaves off of some guy’s lawn with that gas-powered ghostbuster contraption. One old guy turned his dog loose on me to shut me the hell up or maybe just to knock my earphones off my thick head, to give me a taste of my own medicine, I guess. I aimed the leaf-blower hose at that dog and blew him back to his doghouse.”
Anthropologist Leah Mackelmire explained the appeal of this strange tool.
“The leaf-blower very nearly replaced the rake in suburban areas, in which a pristine lawn is a sign that even though the suburbanite couldn’t last an hour in the wild, and even though all wild places are fast disappearing from the face of the earth, he’s still king of his castle and can take comfort in the greenness of his lawn as a substitute for any connection between him and nature.
“The trick is you can’t leave even a single leaf or twig on your lawn for long in autumn, since that would spoil the effect of the green grass and desecrate the clean-cut lawn as an altar to phony masculinity. So the rake won’t work unless you want to be out there for hours and hours or you haven’t gotten fat and lazy from your desk job.”
Mr. Hornblower demonstrated his new devices at an indoor press conference. Sitting on a Lazy Boy recliner on a stage with a novel in his lap and a glass of brandy by his side, he clipped the page-turning device to the book and pressed a red button on the side of the device. The small but surprisingly-cacophonous page-turner sprang into action, emitting a deafening roar as it turned a single page of the novel, and then it fell still and silent. He pressed the button again, and the device once more filled the room with howling banshee screeches as it deftly turned the next page.
Mr. Hornblower couldn’t hear the reporters’ questions that were shouted at him while his machine was turning the pages, not just because he’s congenitally deaf but because the device itself was deafening. Instead, he laid the book aside and gave the reporters a self-satisfied grin.
The next invention was a variation of the page-turner, except that instead of turning pages it dunked a bag of tea in the hot water in his mug. Again, the reporters were astonished by the ear-splitting noise generated by the small device.
While it was dunking the tea bag, a reporter shouted at one of Mr. Hornblower’s aids, who were waiting at the side of the stage, “Don’t you expect most people won’t want to make quite so many explosive, buzzing, crashing noises while they’re preparing to have a cup of tea—or read a book, for that matter?”
The aid only shook his head reproachfully, as though it were politically incorrect to speak about noise in front of Mr. Hornblower.
The inventor attached the final machine to his head and proceeded to eat a sandwich, relying on the jet-fuelled motor to open and close his mouth for him. Like the rest of Mr. Hornblower’s inventions, the chewing aid could be heard from outside the building and from far down the street.
But Mr. Hornblower smiled and proudly gestured towards his three machines, indicating that they’re available for sale, and anticipating perhaps that the consumer’s laziness will compel him or her to overlook the products’ foibles.