The Personal Energy Christmas Ornaments

At first, I was thinking this post would be about oil fields. I was finding all sorts of patents about Christmas trees on oil wells, and I thought it was amazing that the people who drill for oil had such festive spirits. But it turns out that “Christmas tree” is just a term of art for a particular set of oil well valves, and the magic wore off.

But along the way, I found this application, which sits nicely in the intersection of spooky, ridiculous, and sad that I love. I’m going to warn you now, I’m taking this one to a dark place for Christmas:

USPP 2013/0021788, FIG. 17
Step 3: Put your energy in the box.

So what is this all about? It’s really no big deal! You charge up your personal energy storage, and then use it to light up a Christmas ornament. In the inventor’s words:

A person beholding a prior art Christmas ornament of the like may sense the presence of their loved one’s “life energy” in or about the ornament, but because it is not discernible by any of the five human senses, many would argue that the presence of such personal energy is not certain. This uncertainty represents a shortcoming in prior art Christmas ornaments, a shortcoming that could be addressed only by improvements that would make it possible to somehow include in a Christmas ornament the actual energy of the person or animal associated with the ornament and to evince this energy such that it could be experienced by one or more of the human senses and thus shown to actually reside in the ornament.

USPP 2013/0021788, 3

It’s pretty easy to generate “personal energy”–there are tons of ways to do it. There are dynamos on bicycles, thermoelectric generators, and even flashlights you can shake to build up electricity. Just, uh, you probably shouldn’t do that last one in public.

So this invention harvests that “personal energy” and stores it in a card. You give the card to a loved one, who plugs it into a box, and basks in the weak LED light of your exertions. It puts in my mind a much different take on the Matrix, where the machines continue to go through the motions of human traditions, and use us to run their Christmas trees.

The application dances around the most poignant part, though. It talks about how great it is to have this light, generated from the energy of your loved ones. And it talks about how that energy could be stored for years, or even decades.

What it fails to capture is the haunting inevitability of sending someone one of these cards, and then passing away. Your recipient would have this little tchotchke with a tiny sliver of electricity in it. At any time, they could plug it into the ornament, and for a brief time look at the light that you made for them. And then that light would fade away, as your “personal energy” is finally depleted. What would be left of you then?

They would have to make the decision of whether to let your light shine one last time, or set it aside for another day. Maybe they would leave it for a time when the world spins a bit more easily, so that your final light will shine on a house at peace.

Maybe next Christmas…

USPP 2013/0021788, FIG. 20

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