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Paul Cook

Hey, it’s Paul. The “powers that be” have challenged me to come up with a new way to show you who I am other than writing some lame timeline of my life. I have accepted this daunting challenge because I’ve always wanted to create something new. I mean, I do love the show Shark Tank. So, that means I’ll be great at this, right? Hmmm. Thinking. Okay, I got nothing.

But since I already mentioned the show Shark Tank, I would like to throw you an invention idea I’ve always wanted to pitch. My girls Quinn (11) and Ryan (8) are my life. We love to make little forts out of pillows, blankets and other things in our home. I think all kids like to do this at some time in their life. It’s fun to figure out how to keep the blanket up on the counter using the weight of a lamp or chair, but sometimes that can limit your fort building options and could be hazardous to your decor. And that’s usually where I get in trouble, which is confusing to me.

My incredible wife, Jen, was so supportive of my dream to move us to Los Angeles in 2000 for work. It was a real leap of faith that produced thrilling victories and dumbfounding mistakes. We learned so much about each other in those two years; falling deeper in love, which I detailed in my book COOKED in LA. Saying all of that, the moment a picture frame slides out of whack from a sliding couch cushion during fort building, I usually find myself in hot water from Jen.

She says “What’s with all the fort building around here? Is that a St. Louis thing? Like how you make trick or treaters tell a joke on Halloween?”

Jen’s from central Illinois and I’m from South County. We met at Eastern Illinois University.

I reply “Well, I guess. St. Louisians are a unique, smart, warm people. I love trying to make them feel good every afternoon on the radio!”

By then Jen has already left the room to go and work on a necklace for her little jewelry business.

From the other room I hear her ask “Why don’t you take the girls outside to play some tennis? You spent your whole childhood doing that all the way through college.”

“We’ll, do that next,” I say. “Okay girls, if only I could tape this blanket to that love-seat it would stay up right. Or how about a Chip Clip? Do we have a Chip Clip?”

My daughter Quinn says “We do! But now these Cheddar Sun Chips will get stale.”

“That’s why I like Pringles!” claims precious 8 year old Ryan.

So, my “ground-breaking” Shark Tank product will help Dads like me avoid all of this rigmarole. I present to you “Fort Tools” – an indoor fort-making kit (minus the pillows and blankets). The pack will include everything a young fort builder needs to construct an indoor fort sturdy enough to withstand a house-cat attack. Yep, before “Fort Tools” just when we had a great roof on our fort, our beloved over-weight cat Cookie would saunter right out to the middle of the “structure” caving the whole thing in. My invention would allow you to utilize all blankets and cushions you wish without damaging anything (like the old days). It’ll come complete with 4 big Chip-Clip like devices to make that blanket stay on the end table without sliding off. Velcro for additional sticking, nylon ropes for support and a small dry erase board to give your fort a new name with each construction. If we put our sign up after completing today’s fort, it would say: “Paul Cook’s Bio.”

Mr. Wonderful says “I don’t get it.”

Suddenly, I feel the attention of the TV cameras and those hot lights. And instead of running out whimpering, I bear down and draw on the four years I spent on Channel 4 in the morning from 2005 to 2009. After a glance towards Mark Cuban, I say “Good question Virginia Kerr, I mean Mr. Wonderful, sometimes it just takes a little faith.”

Then, the whole Shark Tank panel fights to invest in my product, but I decline every offer deciding to go at it as a Lone Survivor (one of my favorite movies of all time starring Marky Mark Wahlberg). Peace out.

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