“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.” -Jack Benny

Time magazine – remember them? – recently announced the winner of its annual “Person of the Year” award: “Ebola fighters.” I know, that’s more than one person. And you have to read the article to learn the actual names of the Ebola fighters. (For you young people, “Time” was a weekly newsmagazine that was printed on paper and that everybody used to read. It was sort of your ancestors’ “Buzzfeed.” You might be able to read the story on the internet, but more likely will find this issue next Fall in your dentist’s waiting room.) Anyway, it’s their award, so they can do it any way they like.


This got the Idler thinking, though, and after a couple of minutes of intense reflection, I realized I needed a nap. While napping I had a dream about all the people who had contributed so much to the idling life and got so little recognition. Of course there are giants like Knabush and Shoemaker who patented the reclining chair in 1928, which led to the founding of the La-Z-Boy company. I always get a little choked up thinking about it, so let us now observe a moment of silence while we compose ourselves. Yes, snoring will be permitted.There have been various refinements in and improvements to the recliner – there are “wall huggers” and models with compartments in the armrests to store your clickers and snacks – but the basic design remains virtually unchanged. Pure genius.

Then there’s Eugene Polley, sainted inventor of the wireless remote control. Mr. Polley reportedly told an interviewer in 2002: “The flush toilet may have been the most civilized invention ever devised, but the remote control is the next most important. It’s almost as important as sex.” Let’s not get carried away there, Geno. The flush toilet is nice, but it’s strictly a halftime destination. Polley died just two years ago at the age of 96, so he got in his fair share of clicking. Once word of his unparalleled gift to mankind got out, I bet he couldn’t buy a drink. The Idler believes that each May 22 we should press our “mute” buttons for a moment of silent acknowledgement of this great man’s stupendous achievement. Then back to the game.

So the question arises, where are the latter day wizards who have given their all for their fellow recliner jockeys? Who has performed significant service to the huddled masses, yearning to drink in comfort?  Who has made a contribution to slackerdom of sufficient merit to be awarded the title, Idler of the Year?  Their work does not soar to the heights of the aforementioned, but they exist and and they should labor in obscurity no longer. The envelopes please:


Geoffrey & Maryann Mott and Richard Freeman. They are the holders of Patent # US6685047 for the freezer mug. How often have you come in from a hard day of golf and were delighted to find a frosty mug waiting for you in the freezer, ready to be filled with your favorite amber brew? You can thank these folks.

Ben Hewitt.  Ben is the inventor of the “Corksicle.” Although conceived with the specific intent of chilling a bottle of wine without diluting it, this marvelous technology has identical applications to beer as well. You can’t very well put ice cubes in your beer and risk being banished from polite – or impolite for that matter – society. And why  be forced to wait for your beer to chill in the fridge?

We’ll keep the nominations process open for a while, so send in your candidate for “Idler of the Year” and we’ll see that he or she is entered. Whew, time for another nap.

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