Invisibility? I think I see some nifty advantages

Nurse: “Doctor! There’s an invisible man in the waiting room!”

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 4:11pm
  • Life

Nurse: “Doctor! There’s an invisible man in the waiting room!”

Doctor: “Tell him I can’t see him right now.”

Not only did my friends and I share incredibly hilarious jokes like the preceding when we were kids, but we also did a lot of deep thinking about important questions. Among those important questions:

• In a fair fight, who would win – Frankenstein or Hercules?

• Who can run faster – Superman or The Flash?

• Who’s smarter – Lassie or Flipper?

And included in those intellectually challenging debates was this: “Which would be cooler – being able to fly or being invisible?” Among my friends, the vote was unanimously in the “fly” camp.

But I always had the contrary point of view: Bing invisible would be, well, totally out of sight.

There just seems to be so many more ways that invisibility can be useful – from ducking a tax audit to avoiding sunburn. However, it might be a problem on a driver’s license:

Cop: “I had you clocked back there at 90 miles an hour. Can I see your driver’s license, please?”

Invisible man: “Here it is, officer.”

Cop: “Hmm. There’s no one in the photo.”

Invisible man: “That’s because I’m invisible.”

Cop: “Step out of the car, please.”

Invisible man: “I already have.”

The synopsis for the classic 1933 movie, “The Invisible Man,” reads as follows: “A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.” Nuts! There always has to be a catch.

I saw a story not long ago on the Internet – where, as you know, all information is accurate and verifiable. The story was about a guy who invented an electro-helmet in 1934, designed to make a person invisible. A public demonstration was planned, but the inventor failed to show up. Later, he claimed he had been there, proving therefore that his electro-helmet really did work.

There also are stories floating around about so-called spontaneous human invisibility. I heard of an incident where a woman became totally invisible to her husband during a televised Seahawks game. However, things changed suddenly when she stepped in front of the TV set during a third and one and became instantly visible to him again.

You might think that invisibility is simply the stuff of science fiction. But news came out recently about a research team that believes they have created a black material that can absorb 99.9 percent of light. To put that in perspective, that’s more than 99.8 percent.

“The technology is challenging,” says a member of the research team, “but invisibility is not fundamentally impossible.” That’s scientist-speak for “it could work.”

There is a downside: If people can’t see through your invisibility garment, you also can’t see out. You’d literally be that thing that goes bump in the night. And the daytime.

Still, it would be nifty if everybody in this country had the ability to become invisible, at least occasionally. Make it the 28th Amendment: “The right of the people to keep bare arms, or any other body parts – visible or invisible – shall not be infringed upon.” After all, an invisible populace would be hard for our enemies to find. Plus, we could be right in the room with them as they discussed their evil plans.

And when schoolchildren across our nation recited the Pledge of Allegiance, exactly the way most of them have been saying it for decades, it would finally be entirely accurate: “One nation, invisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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