I am having a pleasant instant-message conversation with my brother about what we did on our respective weekends. Suddenly, apropos of nothing, the conversation takes an unexpected turn:
BROTHER: Did Alan Turing actually used to chain his mug to the radiator?
ME: I don't know. Did he?
BROTHER: I can't remember if it's true, or whether I made it up.
ME: I once tied a mug to myself*, but it wasn't my 'magic' Alan Turing one.
I do some digging on the internet, and discover several references to Alan Turing chaining his mug to the radiator. I duly inform the brother.
BROTHER: Ha! I knew I hadn't made it up!
ME: Is this for a client?
(My brother works in marketing too, and is often required to come up with 'creative ideas' to promote some piece of software or other.)
ME: Are you giving away branded 'mug chains'?
ME: Give us your business card, and we'll give you a FREE mug chain - just like Alan Turing's!
ME: Radiator not included.
It becomes apparent that my brother has sloped off, no doubt unable to withstand the vim and verve of my potent wit, so I relate the conversation to Mr BC instead.
MR BC: Is the mug included?
ME: Hm, I didn't think of that.
A companionable silence descends. Presently:
MR BC: It would need to be quite a long chain, so you could lift the mug to your mouth.
Suddenly this doesn't seem to be such a bad idea at all. Branded mug chains would be cheap to produce, and would surely be popular among the Turing-worshipping geek community, who would no doubt welcome a means of keeping their 'special' mugs - which they probably got from Linus Torvalds's secret bunker at the alpha launch of the Linux kernel in 1992 - out of bounds to their colleagues.
The chain could also imply 'security', and would therefore be an ideal booth giveaway for a security software company, like an antivirus company. And what's more, by ensuring that the mug is not used communally, the chain would - quite literally - prevent the spread of 'viruses' across the 'workspace', thus giving concrete, tangible form to an abstract, metaphorical notion; something the software industry has always struggled to do.
I am on marketing fire! I sketch a rudimentary mug chain on my to-do pad, and make a note to fax it to none other than Siralan** himself.
It is at this point that I notice it's already midday, and there's washing to be done, and boxes to be packed, and carrot cake to be made - and before I do any of that I have to write an article about online video for one client and a list of recommendations to the governments of Central and Eastern Europe for another.
The mug chain will have to wait. But ITS TIME WILL COME, goddammit.
* A true story, but one for which the world is not yet prepared.
** Sugar, not Turing. Alan Turing is dead, for a start, and therefore doesn't have a fax machine. And he wasn't a 'Sir', although he did more for this country than Suralan ever has, and what's more Suralan wouldn't even have had a company if it hadn't been for the work of his illustrious predecessor. And besides, faxing my idea to Turing, the rightful originator of it, would be tantamount to commercial suicide!