The first problem that could be solved using a (fully reversible) shrinking ray gun is car parking. If you could shrink down your car as soon as you got out of it and put it in your pocket you’d never need to pay for parking and the land could be used for better purposes. You’d never forget where you left your car (as long as it didn’t fall out of your pocket) and you’d even be able to take it on a plane with you and have the pleasure of driving your own car in another country rather that hiring one.
It would be advisable to keep your car in a different pocket from your car keys in case of pickpockets, but criminals will find a way whatever, so better be on your guard!
It would be great to be able to shrink all the clutter that we accumulate but don’t want to get rid of. Want to keep all your school books but don’t have room? Just shrink them down to fit in a matchbox and your storage woes are a thing of the past.
Are you too big to comfortably fit in an aeroplane seat? Shrink yourself before the flight and enjoy all that extra leg room. Just be aware you may no longer be able to reach the overhead lockers.
I realise this post is turning into a QVC-style advert for a product that doesn’t exist, but wouldn’t it be great to have a shrinking-ray-gun?
In the interests of fairness I suppose I ought to argue against the ray-gun as well. So here are some points against it.
1) There’s almost certainly some health risk involved with shrinking human beings. (I take no responsibility for any shrinking-related illness or injury.)
2) As I already mentioned, it’s easy to lose small things.
3) If no one provides any parking then people will stop by the side of the road to shrink their cars, probably stopping in unsuitable places to do so and causing severe congestion.
4) Sparrowgrass’s First law of handbags states that the clutter carried will expand to fill the space available. If you shrink things you will just carry more and more and more clutter with you everyday (because there is more space available) and realistically you just don’t need it and it will prevent you from finding the things that you do need. We’ve all seen someone upend their handbag to find keys/lipstick/phone, etc., but think how much worse it could be if half the things they owned were in that bag, shrunk down.
To conclude, I would champion the invention of a ray-gun, but I think the company that produces it will need some good lawyers and we’ll all need to treat the invention with a good bit of common sense.
So, what other new gadgets do we need in our lives?