Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – Xanadu

Roller skates were invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.  This was right around the time he invented the light bulb.  The issue with the invention of the light bulb is that he failed to invent the light switch.  The constant walking back and forth to the light bulb became very tedious and exhausting.  Edison’s assistant was named Olivia Newton-John.  She got very tired of walking the distance of Edison’s lab, called Xanadu, to turn the light bulb on and then again, when work was done, to turn it off.  She finally, dramatically, put her foot down and said, “Tell me about it, stud.”  Edison said, “What did you just say?”  Olivia replied, “Sorry wrong movie.  What I meant to say was, I’m really tired from all this walking to turn on the light bulb.  Isn’t there something you can invent to make the walking less tiring and more fun and funky?”  She stomped off in her black satin skin tight pants to tidy up the lab and dust the light bulb.

Olivia’s outburst got Edison to thinking.  He imagined shoes with wheels.  Undoubtedly, this would be a fun as well as funky solution to his assistant’s exhaustion.  That night Edison took a pair of wrestling shoes and used crazy glue to stick wheels on the shoes.  He rearranged his lab in a circular fashion with shiny floors, installed special lighting, a disco ball and played You Dropped a Bomb on Me by the Gap Band and Swingin’ by John Anderson over and over and over again.  Edison put on his new shoes with wheels and took them for a test spin around Xanadu.  He felt free and eventually learned to go around the lab backwards.  After eating a cheap piece of pizza from the snack bar and receiving his first kiss, Edison made a smaller pair of wheeled shoes for Olivia.  

The next morning, Edison presented Olivia with her new shoes.  He told her to close her eyes first.  Edison said, “And now, open your eyes and see.  What we have made is real.  We are in Xanadu.” Once he presented her with the wheeled shoes, she was elated and exclaimed, “Xanadu, your incandescent light bulb will shine…for you, Xanadu!”  And thus, the roller skate was invented.


  1. started on Monday! Just with a different organization...since the other one laid me off. I will just do camps in June this summer. Yay me!