He invented things. Well, to be more accurate, he thought of creative ways to do everyday tasks. Ok fine...he thought of the most complicated possible way to do everyday tasks. As a trained engineer and avid cartoonist, he let his imagination run wild. Hard to explain. See this picture (below) - it is his, The Self-Operating Napkin... His wondrous ideas were so popular, and so pervasive, that he got an official entry in Merriam & Websters dictionary.
Rube Goldberg - "accomplishing by extremely complex roundabout means what actually or seemingly could be done simply."
Use it in a sentence this week.
Anyway, Rube lives on in people like me who love his fanciful ways and in the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, where universities compete against each other to create the best Rube Goldberg-inspired device. For one contest, teams had to invent a contraption that could make a simple hamburger (one patty, 2 pickle slices, bun, and ketchup) in 20 steps or more. Or something like that.
Creativity is beautiful.
The "Self-Operating Napkin" is activated when the soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin. After-dinner entertainment can be supplied with the simple substitution of a harmonica for the napkin