In the midst of much hand-wringing — mine included — about the state of the world, today I wish to offer thanks for some good news about simple improvements that have occurred over the years.
- Long-lasting light bulbs. I remember as a child having incandescent bulbs pop and burn out on a regular basis, startling everyone and leading to a scramble to find a replacement bulb. This seemed to occur every month or so somewhere in the house. Now, years pass between bulb replacements, and the bulbs tend to go quietly. For this, I am thankful.
- Vibrating or rotating toothbrushes with timers. These little inventions have improved oral health for many by absorbing the lessons of dental research — up and down motion or round-and-round, and brushing for a full two minutes — into simple and nice devices. For this, I am thankful.
- Mixed blend fabrics done right. It used to be that cotton was the only fabric for t-shirts and pants. Cotton gets clammy and clingy fast, shrinks when laundered, puckers and stains easily, and so forth. Then, we had the pure polyester era, which was bad in different ways. By finally blending cotton exceedingly well with other materials (Spandex, other synthetic fabrics), we are in an era of breathable, durable, and affordable clothing like no other. For this, I am thankful.
- Craft beer. We used to have two kinds of beer — foreign or domestic. The domestic was watery, the foreign skunky because it had spent too much time in transit. Now, we have so many choices of fresh beer, it’s almost overwhelming. For this, I am thankful.
- Wireless printers. No longer do we have to run cables with huge hammerhead connectors from computer to printer. Now, we just connect over wi-fi. For this, I am thankful.
- Upside-down condiment bottles. A design that was clearly harder to pull off than to imagine, the development of condiment bottles you store so that the contents are drawn to the outlet by gravity, but the outlet is reliably sealed until the bottle is squeezed, has been a great convenience. For this, I am thankful.
The world continues on a general path of improvement, even if the road is bumpy, doubles-back sometimes, and is unpredictable.
Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week.