I was sitting at the gas station filling my tank at our local Speedway last night when a brief news segment on the gas pump TV caught my eye.* It was a story about 8 year old Ohio twin brothers, Justin and Jared Serovich who developed the Rip Away 1000 – otherwise known as wedgie-proof underwear. I burst out laughing at the ingenuity as I watched one brother grab on to his twin’s waist band and all of sudden he was holding his brother’s boxer shorts. As Justin explained, When the person tries to grab you like the bully or the person tries to give you a wedgie they just rip away. His brother Jared was happy to explain their secret, We took some old pairs of underwear and cut the bottom and side seams and put in Velcro.
One would think that the back story would be that the boys kept getting picked on at the playground and became determined to find a way to save their tender derrieres with a simple solution. However, apparently, the boys’ Mom caught them in the basement one day giving each other the wedgie treatment and she scolded them. Then as any parent might do when faced with the inexplicable shenanigans of young boys, she suggested that someone should invent wedgie-proof underwear.
Inspiration! The boys were looking for a concept to develop for the Central Ohio 2007 Invention Convention which encourages young people to come up with creative solutions to everyday problems and they had found their idea. In fact it took them all the way to 2nd place in the competion and invitations to be on Fox Morning News, MSNBC, CNN, and even The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I’m surprised that Dave Letterman never invited them on to his show for the Young Inventors segment but I guess it might be too low-brow for his show’s theme. Though how that is possible given his “Will it float” series I’m not exactly sure.
One might ask what will happen next when the kid is standing there commando and the bully is running around with their underwear. This is the point according to Justin, where teacher intervention would be called for. Still, in my mind, the fact that they could pull your underwear off would likely correlate with more wedgies rather than fewer given the way I recall the 8 year old mind works. But at least they wouldn’t be painful so I guess one would classify the invention as protective rather than preventative.
It turns out this isn’t a new story, it was all over YouTube and Digg back in November 2007 but somehow I missed it. Still, in celebration of their genius, I’ve decided to dedicate my Thursday posts, when they happen, to novel inventions by young innovators. Who knows, these boys might go on to be anything from fashion designers to nanotechnologists with their creative minds.
*The thought that I would say, I was watching the news on my gas pump TV this evening, just seems so outlandish but Madison avenue is always looking for new ways to reach the consumer where they are idle and have time to fill. Perhaps personalized advertising as envisioned in the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, was not that far off after all.
What a brave new world we have entered.