Creativity

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The French, Geoffrey Langley informs us, cause confusion by calling contact lenses "lentils". "It is interesting," he maintains, "to speculate on the negative effect contact lenses would have had on literature and the arts." But we disagree, so we'll go on to someone else's ideas for things to do with contact lenses.

"Men often make passes at women who wear contact lenses" was, according to Mark Walmsley, an early, experimental epigram of Dorothy Parker, rarely cited nowadays.

Contact lenses form an essential component of the Tampax Telescope ( John & Fiona Earle): "Align the contact lenses in a Tampax tube to enable ministers, mistresses etc to see the likely results of their actions. The precise magnification required is found by adding the combined salaries of the people concerned and dividing by the difference in their ages. For fine tuning, add the thickness in millimetres of the carpet." They add that dormice also find the instrument useful as it helps them see the precise phase of the moon and judge whether it is time to wake up.

"Scatter them on the ground," advises R J Pickles helpfully, "so that people searching for lost lenses will always find one."

"Scatter them on the ground," advises Luela Palmer playfully, "to make a challenging treasure hunt for people with poor sight."

"Scatter them on the ground," advises Harold Howe altruistically, "allowing finders to feel virtuous by advertising in newsagents' windows.

To counter the tendency to lose contact lenses, Des Waller comes up with a brilliant idea to make them larger and build frames around them which could be joined by a small bridge to go over the nose and hooked over the ears. He thinks it would be a spectacular advance.

"Arachnophobes," Stephen Woodward says, "can hold them close in front of spiders. This makes the human look disturbingly small and fast-movinbg, and scares the spider." He also suggests that they make attractive door- stops and paperweights, "though they don't meet all the criteria" and he suggests, which may explain Geoffrey Langley's linguistic problem, that they make good replacement skins for naked lentils.

Here are some further ideas put under readers' lenses:

They make wonderful receptacles for unwanted apostrophes (Polly Carr). Bathtubs for fleas or raincoats for ladybirds or patches for repairing balloons or fixed to matchsticks as dolls' house sink plungers (Choonyibib).

Skull caps for baby bishops or petite popes, or centres for mini-roundabouts, or diaphragms for elvish folk (M.Joy). Barbie doll diaphragm, or "masking device for the little people to paint toadstools red whilst leaving those white spots" (Desmond Wilby).

Soup bowls for refined mice, frisbees for athletic mice (Eliot Wilson). See-through discus for Action Man (R Bartlett). Individual incubators for frog spawn (Anne Lloyd Jones). Helmets for space bugs (R J Pickles).

Paint black and use as beauty spot (Lynne Harvey). Sin Cole uses contact lenses to avoid making a spectacle of herself. Paul and Steph use them as spot protectors. N James paints eyes on them and sticks them over his eyelids to let him sleep at meetings. Prizes to J&F Earle, D Wilby, M.Joy.

Next week we'll be explaining how not to fall asleep at meetings. Meanwhile, we seek ideas for things to do with rugby balls. Chambers Dictionaries or the three best suggestions. Entries, by 12 April, to: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

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