Move over, Al Gore. You may have invented the internet, but I invented the iPad, the iPhone and the many other tablet devices that are coming out.
It really should be called the “Zhing Thing.”
I was in fifth grade. My school friends and I would soon be too old to play pretend, but I still wanted to hang on to that childhood joy. Plus, I hated sports. I still wanted to play pretend at recess, and I wanted my friends to join me. But at that age, I knew I needed to come up with something more interesting than house or pioneers.
So we were aliens from the planet Zhingm. A favorite hollowed out corner of the playground filled with weed trees (dubbed “The Hole”) became our spaceship. The rest of the grassy lot became the various planets we visited. We inhaled our food (called Chigamabobolu, with a soft ch pronounced like sh) and took in oxygen by osmosis instead of breathing. I called myself Chemey (soft ch again), and my friends followed suit with Chimey, Chomey, Chumey, etc.
Zhingm was new, sophisticated, and reminded everyone of Star Trek, which was current then. It was cool enough to draw most of the girls in my class away from sports, even if for a little while. And that made me happy.
Drawing from the Star Trek communicator idea, I came up with the “Zhing Thing.” The Zhing Thing was a multipurpose device we carried with us everywhere. I made mine out of a Good and Plenty candy box covered with paper. On it I drew all the different things that this amazing machine could do. Besides being a mobile phone (more of a walkie talkie type device, I think), it included a camera, tape recorder, TV, radio, record player, and possibly a weapon-type device. I don’t remember what else included, but it was pretty amazing.
I couldn’t even imagine videos at that time, much less a portable computer, and certainly not the internet. I couldn’t even imagine a portable calculator. But I did imagine carrying around a small device that could do multiple things. At that time, it seemed like the stuff of science fiction, something only aliens would be advanced enough to figure out. I never dreamed it would happen in my lifetime.
Now if only I could sue Apple for patent infringement.