How many times have you seen a new product or process and said “crap, I thought of that YEARS ago!” We’re all subject to retroactive genius. Either we thought of it and did nothing, or we thought of it long after someone else did but didn’t realize we were late to the party, or thought of something that already existed but we’ve inexplicably forgotten about.

I’m not one to brag but I’ve had some genius revelations in my day.

When I was a “tween”, I drew smiley faces on my toenails – years before that blasted yellow smiley face became a ubiquitous taunt in the marketplace. Was I ahead of my time, cheated of glory and licensing loot? Maybe… Maybe not. Maybe I saw it somewhere else and those toes were just a fleeting moment of retroactive genius.

The best retroactive genius moments are when I invent or discover something that has been around my entire life – something “hiding” in plain sight. I like to think of it as inventing the obvious, or a “DUH-scovery.”

I invented marriage, for example.

I was involved in a long-term, long distance relationship with a man who needed a quadruple bypass shortly after we became a couple. My father felt this was a badge of honor for me somehow. I will never understand my father.


Because I was not a relative, I was only able to get second-hand medical updates from his family. I had no official status as his partner. I thought of my gay and lesbian friends and how they waded through tons of paperwork to gain legal status as a partner. I thought there should be something like that for straight people. Some paperwork my man and I could get to give our relationship some legal clout and recognition.

Wait…that sounds familiar.

We do have something like that. It’s called marriage. Having been married for 23 years prior to this, you’d think that would have popped into my head a bit sooner. It seems when I got divorced, I completely forgot about marriage – until I came up with the genius idea a few months later.

Yesterday, I discovered doors. Yes… DOORS.

My tiny home office is a room at the corner of the house and quite far from the furnace – aka, cold as hell. Space heaters are noisy and dry out the air, plus the dogs sometimes get too cozy with them and I worry about dog damage. Instead, I toss a fleece robe over my fleece clothes and pile a fleece throw on my knees and huddle over the computer like a monk in an unheated monastery.

Then there’s the dog problem. In cold weather, Holly, the resident terrier(ist) prefers to take her potty breaks indoors. She is small and sneaky, and will quietly excuse herself to go take a dump on the carpet or soak the area rug in the kitchen. She’s free to do this because I am focused on my work. Until she starts one of her barking sessions at the front window, that is. So, yesterday, I thought it would be great if I had some way to contain her in the office while I was working, without taking up precious space with a dog crate. If only there was something for that; something other than yet another dog gate in the house.

Then I noticed the room actually had a door. Yes, a door! The door hasn’t been shut for 15 years – no reason to shut it. I hang things on the doorknob and lean things against it, but I never shut it. I removed all the clutter from around said door, closed it – and the miracles began to multiply. First, the little terrier beast could not wander off to foul the carpeting or bark at the window and second, the door holds the heat in the room so it was actually quite cozy! By the end of the day, it was downright toasty!

Discovering the obvious is a bleepin’ goldmine for problem solving! Can’t wait to see what I will “DUH-scover” today.

If you’ve made a “DUH-scovery”, please share in the comments so I feel less like an idiot.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.