Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fiction: Stolen Idea

“Did you see John’s story in The New Yorker?”

“Yeah, I did.  It was good.”

“Of course it was good.  He stole your idea.”

“Not really.”

“What do you mean?  Remember when we were talking about this very thing on the way to Dave’s wedding?”

“Yeah, I remember.  I threw the idea out there, but I couldn’t put anything together.  He did.”

“But he doesn’t give you credit or anything.”

“What is he supposed to do?  Have The New Yorker to run a special note that cites everything or everyone that influenced everything in the story?”

“Well, he could have submitted it with your name in the byline.”

“I didn’t write it.”

“But it was your idea!”

“Who’s to say he wouldn’t have come up with it on his own if I hadn’t mentioned it.  It’s not like we weren’t already headed in that direction.”

“But he didn’t.  You did.”

“Right, but he did something with it.”

“But it was yours to do something with.”

“I didn’t do anything with it, though.  I’m just glad something came of it.”

“It’s dishonest.”

“No, it’s life.  The doers get the credit.”

“What about the idea guys?”

“They’re great, but ideas aren’t worth anything if no one does anything about them.”

“But still, you should get some credit.”

“If you ask him, I’m sure he’ll give me credit for the idea.  Besides, Steve Jobs didn’t come up with the  idea for the portable music player or cell phone or touch screen or camera phone or portable email device.  He just put them all together and made them cool.”

“But that was the idea - to put them all together.”

“It’s not a very original idea, but it sure is a good one.  All John did was take my idea and a bunch of other ones and put them together into a great story.”

“So you’re not pissed?  Not even a little bit?”

“No, I’m happy for him.  I may be a little bit pissed but only at myself for not doing anything with the idea.”

“I’d be pissed.”

“Seems like you’re plenty pissed for the both of us.”

“You should ask for a cut of his royalties.”

“C’mon.  You think he got paid more than a few hundred bucks for that story?  How much should I ask for?  Twenty bucks?  Forty bucks?  It’s not like that’s paying his mortgage for the next twenty years.  He’ll probably use it to get a new iPhone.”

“I’m never talking about any of my good ideas around him.”

“That shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Why is that?”

“You never have any good ideas.”

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