I can't take credit for this thought, but I'll pass it along anyway.
What if our lights and other luminescent devices didn't really emit light? What if they were, well, dark suckers?
Obviously, that brings in a wide range of physics-related discussion, which I'm probably not qualified to be a part of. Like darkness being a substance in and of itself, instead of simply being the absence of something. But again, that's for folks that have a "p," an "h" and a "d" after their name.
The idea - most likely in jest - was brought up by a high school classmate of mine, Jared Schoenberger. Jared was (and I presume still is) a damn smart dude, probably a lot smarter than we ever gave him credit for. (In college, I lived with his younger brother for two years, and he told me that Jared basically skated through high school knowing that he could turn on the smarts when he got to college.)
For some reason, it's stuck with me as the years have passed. Most likely, it's because it's probably the most original thought I can ever remember hearing.
We've populated this planet for how long and technology has advanced incredibly far in a relatively short amount of time. A good many of our discoveries, it seems, are simply re-adaptations or refinements. Pong begat San Andreas when you get down to it.
What a wonderful feeling it must be to come up with something truly original. That moment when the light bulb flips on and suddenly you see two profiles where everyone else only saw the vase.
Perhaps the true joy is finding out that, in fact, no one ever has discovered what you have. That's a bit different, more after-the-fact than the light-bulb moment.
So often in our lives, we repeat what we've done before. When I go to Redskins Park tomorrow, I can't imagine I'll hear anything but the typical coach-speak. When I go interview a golfer later in the afternoon, I don't know what she's going to say but I have a pretty good idea. When I cover football on Sunday (I'm on desk Friday night), I can't imagine I'll see something that I haven't already seen in 21 years of playing or covering or being a fan of the sport.
But then again, maybe I will. And that's where the joy lies.