It’s my feeling that we’ve drastically underthought the elevator. Here is a device that could offer many useful functions, but is instead offering only one: delivering people and objects from one floor to another in multi-story buildings. It makes me sick, and I’d like to workshop a few ideas.
- The Elevator as Mobile Closet: So you live in a huge house – a ten-story house, let’s say. And you love to really occupy all those floors. You’re back and forth, up and down, sometimes sleeping on 3, sometimes shooting a game of pool on 8, etc. Why should you always have to go to your bedroom on 10 in order to access your clothes or your rollerblades or porno-mags or what have you? Well, you don’t! No, all you have to do is make your elevator your closet — install shelves, hanging bars, magazine racks — and you’ll be able to call it to you from any floor in your house — even the lobby! Your house has a lobby, can you believe it?! Way to go, kid — you totally went all the way with your idea about novelty pencils where the lead breaks super easily!
- The Elevator as Desk Area: Do you work two jobs? Are they for two different companies that happen to be in the same building, just on different floors? Isn’t it a huge pain in the ass to try to be in both places all day long, servicing the needs of both the companies that have hired you to do a discrete, fulltime job for them? I hear that. Consider taking over one of the elevators as your desk area. That way you can quickly shuttle between one job and the other, keeping all your stuff right there in front of you on your desk. As a bonus, nobody will ever know if you’re actually gone, working at your other job, or simply working with the doors to your office closed to avoid distraction. Just tell the folks at either company that when they want to talk to you, they should push your doorbell, and you’ll come out as soon as you’re ready.
- The Elevator as Plain Old Storage Closet: So you’ve got a bunch of elevators in your building — more than enough, in fact! What you could really use is another plain old storage closet in which to put boxes and maybe cleaning supplies and the like. No problem. Turn the power off in one of the elevators, wedge its doors open, fill the crack between the elevator and the walls and floor with plaster, run an extension cord in there and plug in a lamp — voila! You’ve got your storage closet!
- Elevator as Incubator: Need to hatch some chicks, some baby chickens? Get you some of those hot bulbs — a bunch of them — and install them in the ceiling of the elevator. Now get some batting or hay or that easter-basket-fake-grass-tinsel stuff and line the floor with it — shoot for a good six to eight inches of insulation. Now nestle those eggs in there in the lining like you do, and sit back and let nature take its course. If you’re doing this as a classroom experiment, the elevator is a great idea because it allows you to share your experiment with classes on floors above and below yours. As a nice surprise, reach in and press the floor of Ms. Henry’s class; the elevator will whisk the chicks — batting, hotlamps and all — to the chosen floor and open up on Ms. Henry’s kids, giving them a great view of your simulation of the ovular gestation of baby chickens. Just make sure, if you ended up using the easter basket grass, to attach a sign that says, “Attention! These are NOT Easter eggs! These are live baby chickens undergoing ovular gestation before your eyes! The heatlamps simulate the warmth of mother hens who would normally sit on top of the eggs for weeks until the babies have hatched! Do not eat!” A nice prank to execute on say Halloween or April Fools is to take out the eggs and fill the elevator with blood (water dyed a nice deep red is fine) so that when it opens a sanguineous tidal wave crashes like an avalanche through Ms. Henry’s classroom. The trick is to leave the sign in the elevator so that the kids think something has gone wrong with the incubation process.