The Inventions Of…

Mr. Yung Gai

Mr. Yung Gai was born in 1892 in Hunan Province in pre-communist China. As a lad he would conjure up all manner of creation to aid his poor yet hard-working parents in the planting fields. Of these constructs, perhaps the only one that lasts to this day, is the famous "water purveyor" of which every Chinese undoubtedly knows.

Gai, in his home prefecture, was acknowledged even at this early age of being worthy for study to become gentry. For years he arduously worked and by his thirteenth birthday had failed his examination on five separate occasions. The sixth time, though, yielded success.

The examination system having been abolished that same year, he enrolled in the University of Ponkotsu in Japan. There his genius was fostered and he came to know by name the scientific concepts he had always understood natively. He graduated with high honors in the spring of 1911 at the age of nineteen, having shown great mastery in fields ranging broadly in subject as plate tectonics to needlepoint to special relativity.

The summer of 1913 brought him to the United States under a visa permitting research with Anderson Labs in southern Pennsylvania. There he obtained patents for many of his early inventions but, in a twist of American legalism, had them snatched away by the company funding their development.

This all occurred in four short years. After the utter lack of respect demonstrated by his employer he tendered his resignation and set off on his own with money obtained from one patent he was allowed to keep -- the first introduced in this series.

The "Solar Bird Displeasor" - sketched in haste on the bottom of a woman’s white shoe - is shown below. Inspiration for it came in the fall of 1915 when Gai, walking under a small leafless sapling, was bombarded by fecal matter from a group of small birds. Walking under the tree in previous weeks he had observed numerous white drops peppering the sidewalk at his feet. He later felt the encounter was predestined, as it occurred on the last possible day he could have walked under the tree; he planned to switch to the opposite side of the street the next day.

Said Gai of his invention: "The feces on the ground troubled me deeply. I knew it would only be a matter of time before gravity and digestive processes coincided with my daily constitution. Switching to the opposite side of the street seemed prudent, but on that day habit brought me along my usual route. I thank the heavens that, although my shirt was ruined, I had the insight to invent the one thing that would allow me to break from the ruthless Anderson consortium".

Gai’s uncle, having also been an exceptional student in China, but lacking the confidence to put his knowledge to the test, opened a restaurant in Philadelphia exemplifying Hunan taste. Gai ate there often as it was a mere few miles from his home, and one day asked his uncle to make him a special dish; one Gai had perfected in his own dormitory back in Japan. A customer behind him thought it looked delicious and ordered it. As such things go, the recipe was added to the chef’s regular fare, and the now named "Cream of Sum Yung Gai" was added to the menu and became legendary.