|Although Steve Shelley has been mentioned several times in history, the man is described as "an effusive reclusive cloaked in an enigma wrapped in an enchilada." Modern scholars still hotly dispute whether he exists, or is just a myth.|
Little is known of Shelley’s origins. Legend has it that someone fitting his description is born in humble surroundings to very tolerant parents in Nebraska sometime in the 1500’s. Supporters insist that this is Shelley, who is then adopted by an indigenous Native American tribe. Their conviction stems from the fact that this person’s name, when translated, means "Clue Searcher Without One."
Incomplete records indicate that he is later educated in the finest schools in Europe, a remarkable feat since sailing vessels do not begin crossing the Atlantic from west to east until years later. Transcriptions reveal that he fails at almost all of these educational institutions due to the fact that he can’t speak any of the local languages.
It is believed that sometime after leaving (or being expelled from) these institutions, Shelley develops a fascination for learning and a longing for cool beverages. His name is often associated with Galileo Galilei. Bar bills smuggled from the Vatican indicate that Shelley spends some amount of time in Pisa in 1608 striving with Galileo to invent a "mechanical device for crushing and mixing ice-based beverages." Although this venture is unsuccessful, the next year Galileo introduces the telescope, calling it "the next best thing to a blendora." No one knows what a blendora is, but they are too polite to question the great man.
Folklore states that Shelley is next sighted in 1665 in a Cambridge bar doing 2-pence shots with Sir Isaac Newton and explaining the use of a glass prism. It is rumored that this incident directly leads to Sir Isaac Newton’s hangover, forcing him to close all the curtains in his room. In the remaining light, Sir Isaac uses the prism to discover the color spectrum.
A signature that could be Shelley’s is discernible on receipts dated on or around 1674 for questionable transactions in Belgium. Local lore details his quest to build this "mechanical ice-crusher," spending no small amount of time with Mr. Christiaan Huygen. The project is abandoned after the now-infamous "Night of the Broken Dikes," and Shelley is forced to flee the country.
This incident is now celebrated annually with country wide "Soaked to the Skin" festivals. Towns are flooded, and rowing competitions are held on main avenues; the Belgians gather in enormous hot tubs wearing socks on their ears. Other activities include "bobbing for car keys" and "wet T-shirts for bald men" competitions. These festivities culminate with the awe-inspiring "Dance of a Thousand Sponges." Devoted researchers argue that Shelley’s "little oopsie" convinces the country to install more safeguards in its waterway system, and his teachings inspire Mr. Huygen to invent the first pendulum clock.
Police records show someone fitting Shelley’s description re-entering Italy on or around 1888. Court records reveal that a heated discussion between Shelley, Hertz, Tesla, and Marconi regarding the waveform that becomes known as radio turns into a bar brawl. While the other three languish in their cells, Shelley is granted bail by the local constables in exchange for "small pieces of an unknown translucent green material filled with holes." (This is well documented as the origin of the phrase "paying with plastic.") While the other three participants insist this meeting never takes place, two years later a policeman receives a patent for a cheese grater.
Hardware store receipts from 1890 are proclaimed as proof that Shelley spends time with Thomas Edison in Schenectady, perfecting and demonstrating his newly invented "ice crushing and blending" device. Shelley’s invention is credited with inspiring Edison to remain an inventor.
The light bulb is not developed until years later, but primitive phonograph recordings document someone who sounds like Shelley entertaining Edison’s two children, Dot and Dash, with a sock puppet. It is widely accepted, however, that one direct result of Shelley’s visit is the decision by the Edison Phonograph Works Company to suspend the manufacture of talking dolls.
Another tantalizing Shelley sighting is noted in 1903 in Schaffhausen. Archival diaries show that he (or someone very like him) demonstrates an "ice crushing and blending machine" to Albert Einstein, then a local patent director, and Arthur Eichengrun, a German pharmacologist. Unfortunately the patent is not granted. Soon after Shelley’s departure, however, Einstein publishes his field equations for general relativity, and Eichengrun invents aspirin.
To this day yearly seminars are held to discuss and debate whether Shelley even exists. While some are convinced he is mere folklore, others contend he still wanders the world with his "ice crushing and blending device," providing inspiration to geniuses while searching for the perfect blend.
Shelley partisans claim that his impact has been documented in many countries: Tests in Italy show that, when a blender is turned on, locals reflexively cry out "Era Shelley blendora?" ("Is Shelley blending?"). Tests in Belgium, on the other hand, show that the same sound makes the local population involuntarily reach for a sponge.
So either this "Shelley" is in truth the "effusive reclusive" of legend... or he’s a freelance lighting designer who’s the author of A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, the inventor of the Field Template™ Family of Drafting Templates, the designer of SoftSymbols™, and the creator of The Road Margarita (winner of the Spoleto Blend-Off five years running). He’s married to Judy in New York City.
She’s obviously a very brave woman, going for sainthood.
If you wish, you can congratulate Steve for finally completing SoftSymbols™.
* Acquired after an all-nighter, from the movie Buckaroo Banzai.