I paused today to reflect upon the top ten things that I think complimented and improved life since 1980....the beginning of the Reagan era. My list will be a bit odd and different....but for the right reasons.
1. The mute button. I've come to use my TV remote minute-by-minute, and that mute button is used around 150 times a day. To be honest, I just don't listen to commericals now at all. There are fair chunks out of the news shows at night....when the topic isn't worth listening to, and I just mute the TV. The Today Show? I watch fifteen minutes of it, but eleven minutes are mostly muted while I'm looking at news over the internet. In my mind, the mute button is absolute gold, and society has greatly benefited from it being on all remotes.
2. Duc-tape. I just can't imagine how society survived for all those years...without the stuff. Mankind needed it, and it's probably been one of the great things we've used to help survive in difficult times.
3. Streaming video. It killed off the video-tape era and the DVD era, and destroyed Blockbuster. Frankly, we are all better off now....able to watch Danish cop shows, English drama, and instructional videos on how to install a septic tank via YouTube.
4. GPS. Frankly, a guy doesn't need a map atlas with him in the car, and can drive from Mississippi to some street in Nashville where some gal gave him her address to meet for a liaison ...even though he's never physically met her before. Guys don't drive in circles no more.....trying to admit they know where they are (to the wife), but can't find the right street.
5. Wal-Mart. It was barely in existence in 1980, and over the last two decades....has become our essential stopping point after work. Need bread? Need shotgun shells? Need a $9 white shirt for a funeral? Need a $66 gift for your girlfriend? Wal-Mart has added much to life.
6. Computerized warning on cars. Your car has the ability to tell you that it's got serious problems but can survive for 200 more miles. You can pull into the mechanic's shop....six minutes later....he's describing the piece you need and how it'll be at his shop by noon tomorrow (from Iuka, Miss), and he'll have it back running in less than twenty-four hours.
7. Cellphones. It's amazing. A guy can be half-way to work and the wife can call to say that Gunter (your dog) is all sick and needs emergency attention at the vet. You stop in the middle of the road, and haul-ass back to save Gunter....telling your boss that your wife is the one sick and you will be in around noon. You can track your kids, call your secret liaison gal, and ask the Baptist minister to pray for you because you flipped out and woke up in the cornfield.
8. Listening Tapes. An entire segment of society, has progressed to a highly educated state of mind....by using 60 minutes of tapes or CDs on the way to work. These folks know fusion, the difference between light and dark meat, what triggered the Vietnam War, and why women faint so easily when you jab a fishhook into your arm.
9. Five-hour Drinks. To be kinda honest....at 2PM.....when you used to be low....these five-hour drinks are a miracle. Course, I know they are loaded with caffeine and probably are not that good for you....but they have helped society manage a low-point in the afternoon.
10. Seinfeld. Frankly, you'd think a show about nothing would amount to nothing in life. The truth is....we all came to view life in New York as a blessing, and just wish we could sit down with George and absorb some of his luck and manhood. We'd also like to be neighbors with Kramer. And that Elaine gal? Well....she's a nine on the ten-scale.