Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Finally! A Rimroller!!

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I am walking just a little bit taller today, feeling just a little bit prouder to be living in a great country like Canada.

I am feeling this surge of patriotic pride because an Ottawa inventor has unveiled a "labour-saving device" I believe will make life just that much better for time-conscious Canadians from coast to coast.

It is a device that stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest Canadian achievements of all time, by which I mean insulin, the telephone, the light bulb, the Canadarm, basketball, the dental mirror, the foghorn, the zipper (oh, yeah, that was ours), five-pin bowling, the Jolly Jumper, the anti-gravity suit, the Wonderba, poutine and -- not to forget -- the retractable beer carton handle.

I could go on, but that's not the point. The point is Paul Kind, 62, has joined the pantheon of homegrown geniuses by inventing the Rimroller -- a plastic thingamabob the size of a bottle opener that will allow Canadians to effortlessly "Roll Up the Rim to Win" at their nearest Tim Hortons.

No longer will frayed nerves, bruised thumbs, broken fingernails and wax-covered teeth be a rite of passage for jittery Canadian coffee drinkers as they painstakingly search for prizes lurking under the rim of those indestructible cardboard cups.

It took Kind three years and countless cups of coffee to develop his little plastic brainstorm, which, when gripped between thumb and forefinger, cleanly slices open and unrolls a Tim's rim in one fluid motion.

About 700 Rimrollers quietly arrived in Winnipeg on Friday morning and are now being sold for $1.95 each at the Lee Valley Tools outlet on Ellice Avenue.

As a dedicated consumer advocate, I knew I would have to put this work of genius to the test, despite the fact this would require me to (a) leave my house and (b) come in contact with actual members of the public.

So, with no regard for personal safety, I visited Lee Valley, where I asked Ray Forbes, the store's showroom co-ordinator, whether the Rimroller will revolutionize life in Canada as we know it.

"Absolutely!" he declared, with only a little bit of prodding from me. "I don't understand how we've gotten so far without it."

Armed with six Rimrollers, I bravely made my way to the Tim Hortons on St. James Street to conduct "scientific" field tests on the lunchtime crowd.

I first approached Bonnie Mayer and her friend, Eunice Krotowich. True Canadians, they were skeptical about the urgent need for the device.

"I don't think it's a necessary item," Bonnie said. "It's amazing to me that someone would invent this ... someone has w-a-a-a-a-y too much time on their hands."

Eunice also was not buying. "I think it's absolutely goofy," she chortled. "I'd rather spend my money on another cappuccino. If one of my kids buys this for me, I'm gonna shoot them!"

At the next table over, however, Kent Dueck, who just returned from a Mexican vacation, could barely contain his tanned patriotic excitement.

"I think it's incredible!!!" Dueck declared, as his wife and three children beamed at him. "This is right up there with the invention of the wheel.

"I just saw a guy using his teeth to roll up his rim -- and that's just sad. I give it (the Rimroller) two not-broken thumbs up!"

And Heather Walsom, manager of the packed Tim's outlet, was almost misty-eyed when I presented her with her own personal Rimroller.

"Hey! It works!" she bubbled as her staff looked on. "This is wonderful. You have no idea how many rims I have to roll up every morning."

Back at the office, I drew confused looks from several male colleagues by discreetly asking whether they would mind if I "rolled up their rims."

I even challenged a powerful senior editor named Boris to a rim-rolling contest. I do not wish to brag, but with my state-of-the-art device I clocked in at three seconds, whereas Boris, who has thumbs the size of small shovels, took 13 seconds.

"I feel humiliated," were his exact words.

In conclusion, I think I speak for all productivity-minded Canadians -- except, maybe, for Bonnie and Eunice -- when I say how delighted I am that we will no longer be forced to waste valuable person/seconds manually rolling up the rims on our coffee cups.

Just imagine what we, as a nation, will be able to accomplish now that we have the Rimroller. I can only pray other, less-inventive nations do not try to stop us now... because we are definitely on a r-r-r-r-r-r-r-o-ll.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2007 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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