VARIOUS— Sergei Fundaminsky's place in the pantheon of modern inventors was not secured by the number of patents he held―apparently none―but by such things as the sartorial daring to shun neckties and replace them with sanitary toilet seat covers.
"They are so practical," said the Muscovite inventor, his neck wreathed in white tissue. "If you dribble minestrone, you just throw it out and get a new one."
Fundaminsky was recognized early on as a prodigy. By the age of twelve he had devised a radium-powered baby stroller which was mocked by the Soviet establishment; new generations would hail it as an environmental hazard. Stalin was said to be fascinated by possible military applications of Fundaminsky's squirting lapel carnation, transformed by his mechanical genius, into a weapon with greatly intensified water pressure. At a congress for young Soviet scientists and inventors, Stalin clasped Fundaminsky's hand and then said, "My what a beautiful flower." As the Soviet leader leaned down to sniff the carnation in the young man's lapel, a stinging stream of water squirted into his face. Stalin's Minister of Science was convulsed.
Fundaminsky's memoirs recount in chilling detail how the minister claimed to have not laughed. "It was an innocent cough, your excellency," insisted the Science Minister.
"Well, I'm sure your cough will get better," replied Stalin ominously. Rather than find out what that meant, the minister took cyanide.
Meanwhile, the young inventor was sent to
Life in the new country was not easy for the inventor. First, there were shortages and long lines, then came disillusionment with the discovery that
He immigrated to
In an interview with Popular Mechanics shortly before his death, the great inventor expressed his outlook on life, "At 12 I knew the point of human being was to spend one's life fighting social injustice. At 18 I recognized the importance of free alterations. At 55 I realized that the main purpose of life is to feel gratitude for being able to order entrees off the senior menu."
Fundaminsky passed away while pursuing his dream of setting of new record (18) of bowls of split-pea soup eaten at Andersen's Pea Soup and his stomach burst.
At the time of his death he was at work on perhaps his greatest invention, a whoopee cushion in the form of a hat. "I am putting new wine in an old bottle. The whoopee cushion as we know it is passé, but the hat shape will revolutionize it. Everyone these days knows better than to sit on one of these cushions. There you have the evolution of the species! It has been very difficult process indeed, but it is more satisfying to climb a mountain than a rain puddle. No? So I have carried out prototypes with a panama, a Borsalino, and how you call it? a chicken potpie. All these crows swooped down and ate it. It was deeply frustrating."
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