“What’s wrong with inventing new things?”
Galena Trinidad had had quite enough of her sister’s nonsense. “If I want to make something, that should be my right, I should be able to do it.”
“But why are you doing it?” asked Astrella Trinidad.
“Because it’s fun!” Galena insisted. “Am I not even supposed to have fun?”
The invention really was quite stupid. It did something that a hundred other things—including human hands—could already do, so it really didn’t add any contribution to human experience.
“But it’s cool!” Galena insisted.
And it was, she supposed. The whirligigs and the doo-dads spinning created a sense that, even if the result was as banal as peeling a hard-boiled egg, Science was happening!
“But I don’t get it!” Astrella confessed. She couldn’t quite articulate what she thought was wrong with it. Later on, though, when she learned about environmental issues and about waste problems, it all started to become clearer to her.
“It’s wasteful,” she finally concluded. Galena had invented something “new”, an automatic tooth-brushing machine that would brush your teeth for you while you were watching TV or reading or taking a bath (“Because it’s also water-proof! See?”)
“Now you’re just inventing things for the sake of inventing them!” Astrella protested. “Who’s going to buy these things?”
That was a question she probably shouldn’t have asked. By the time they were fourteen, Galena already had two patents for every year she’d been alive and five more pending, with seven of them already having caught the attention of multinational corporations.
“You’re kidding me, right?” said Astrella. “You think these so-called inventions are going to help your company? Make operations more efficient?”
“Oh, of course not,” said the multinationals. “We’re going to market them as curiosities. We’re going to mass-produce them, sell at least five million units of each.”
“And who’s actually going to buy them?”
Again, the wrong question. “Everyone will buy them. Everyone will want one. We have ways of making people want things.”
The right question would have been, “Who the hell is going to use them?”
Of the five million units of her automatic bubble-blowing machine for kids’ bubble-blowers, all but seven hundred (which were damaged either in production or transport) were sold. Of the ones that were sold, though, only half were ever used, and only a single thousand (one out of almost 5000, total) were used more than once.
“See?” Galena said, looking at the sales figures. “People really like my products!”
Astrella, meanwhile, devoted her efforts and career towards creating and encouraging new ways to cut down on waste not just by reducing it industrially, but through recycling techniques and experimental uses of algae to digest plastic and even rusted metals back into inert or even bio-degradable substances.
Everyone who knew the sisters agreed that Galena was the happier of the two. (She was certainly the richer.) But history will remember Astrella Trinidad as the woman who saved the world from the terror of encroaching humanity.