First. When I was in second grade (or maybe third) we had to "Invent" something. Come up with the idea, draw a picture of it, and explain it. My idea? You could have paint brushes, but there would actually *be* paint in the brush, so you wouldn't have to dip it in paint. It would be less messy. Isn't that brilliant? Well, you can imagine what I thought, years later, when I saw these...
Someone stole my brilliant idea!! I'll bet it was that kid in my class, Nathan. He was always stealing my best ideas and taking credit for them. Like when we decided to start singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" in the middle of a multiplication tables test because our teacher hated that song, and we figured turn about was fair play.
My second brilliant invention? *smile* That. That's my second brilliant invention. To the best of my recollection, I started typing *smile* and *grin* and *grimace* in e-mails in mid-1997. I came up with it on my own, and have yet to find evidence that anyone used it sooner than that. Now, it may be possible that it was invented by more than one person at the same time. Like calculus, the Spouse informs me. I'd like to believe that the people I e-mailed, used it too, and then the people they e-mailed used it, and so on.
I can't prove it, but that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. Have you ever invented anything--whether you meant to or not?