Failures of a Young Toy Inventor – or – How I Learned to Be Fearless

It’s all fun and games until someone gets sprayed.

Like having a pet skunk, kinda. Well, actually, not so much.
Anyway, as I was saying, I vividly recall as a young designer at the legendary Marvin Glass and Associates I had created a top with a magic marker doo-hickey as the ‘point’ of the top. As the top spun it created spiralling patterns on paper. Quite cool. That would have been back around 1980, long before Doodle Tops were even a twinkle in some marketer's eye.


Now, this top was spring-launched with a hand-held winder so that when launched it spun very, very, very, very fast. No doubt you have played with such a top.

The partners of Marvin Glass all had bespoke shirts made in Hong Kong from beautiful fabrics and workmanship; one of the perks of being in the toy business, I suppose.

All of the partners gathered round the Marvin Glass conference room table to watch this little wonder spin and magically create patterns on the paper. All 6 or 7 of them were leaning in close to watch the magic happening. And what do you suppose happened next?
It never happened before. I never thought it was gonna happen. But it did.


The marker top was spinning so fast that it sprung a leak and sent ink flying out 360 degrees onto each and every one of the partners at Marvin Glass. Simultaneously all six men sprang back away from the table in shock, cursing and loudly expressing their dismay at the stains on their similarly ink-besmattered, expensive, handmade-in-Hong-Kong bespoke shirts.

After looking down at the fronts of their stained shirts, they all looked at me. I thought I was finished. I gathered up my marker top and slunk from the room. We never showed that toy to anyone,

One thought

  1. Bruce,
    That was the funniest yet truest-to-life story that I have ever heard.
    Thanks for sharing, it reminds me to be mindful of the Law of Unintended Consequences…

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