In honor of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, I think we should all give thanks for the things we have. In that vein, my cousin Jay and I were discussing where our lives would be without some of the things we know take for granted. Our conversation centered around cell phones. It's remarkable to think everybody did not have a cell phone even ten years ago. You had to be a doctor or a drug dealer to have a cell phone in the 80's. But now, everybody has cell phones. I've seen little kids, and I'm talking 8 with iPhones (which, incidentally, are incredible). There are some things that make our lives better, more convenient, and just more fun.
Now, I say "invention" because I include improvements of existing products, but here are the basic rules. The product, brand name, idea, etc. must be relatively new or a relatively new improvement of an existing product, brand name, idea, etc. It doesn't have to make the world better, overall, but just make your world better. Obviously, a solar powered car that uses no fossil fuels yet has room for 6 and a DVD player for "Finding Nemo" would top the list, but since that either costs a ton of money or (more likely) does not exist, it didn't quite make the cut. Here is my list, and, as always, feel free to offer your own suggestions.
1. Text messages. I'd say they are an improvement over phone calls for a number of reasons. First of all, they are easier to manage. Calling somebody is a big deal now. I only call if I have to. If it can be expressed in a few words, you don't need to call. Major pet peeve and drawback, however, is the unnecessary response text message (Abbie). Saying "thank you" or "ok", or worse, "k" is almost never (I said almost, so relax) needed. I don't care if I do have unlimited text, I don't need to check the message to see that you said "ok." Sorry, I lost control for a second.
2. HDTV. I can actually see the gray hairs in Brett Favre's beard glisten with sweat after he flings another ball deep into double coverage, resulting in a game-ending interception. Wait a second, ESPN is on the line. They are calling on behalf of the rest of the media saying I can't criticize Brett Favre, because he is perfect. So, scratch that previous example. HDTV (which, by the way, is the first thing I'm buying after passing the bar) has such good picture, I can actually see Tracy McGrady's reluctance to drive the lane against good teams with the game on the line on his face before his body language turns WNBA (believe, it was hard to keep this part PG) and he hoists up a turn-around, fade-away 30 footer against a defender who "he" outweighs by 20 pounds and is taller than by 6 inches. But, back to my point (I'm saving my t-mac rant for when he actually plays more than 20 minutes a game, or at all, and then chokes like the dog we all know he is).
3. Youtube. If I want to see idiots make fools of themselves, I can just look to the Internet. If I want to see Afro-ninja, well, by golly, I can see that back-flipping, nun chuck-waving SOB anytime I want to. If there is ever anyone who does something stupid on video, it's on youtube. And that's great. Closely related to #3 are digital cameras and cell phone cameras. Where would we be without them?
4. Deep fried turkey. Yeah, I'm sure they were invented or eaten more than ten years ago, but I didn't eat one till about 5 or 6 years ago, so I'm including it on the list. Get over it. This is the only way to do Thanksgiving. There are few things better than deep fried turkey, pumpkin pie, football, the couch, and sweat pants. That's just about heaven, if you ask me.
5. The Showtime grill. You know, set it and forget it. I don't actually have one of these bad boys, but the only time I saw it used, it was great. Here's how it happened. I went over to my buddy's house (I won't say who, but you might be able to guess) to hang out. It was a lazy Saturday on a holiday weekend in the summer time. Well, this friend got a stuffed chicken for us to eat. He tied that sucker around the spit of the grill and, as they say, set it and forgot it. Well, only thing is, the string couldn't hold the chicken onto the grill. Keep in mind, this same friend has earlier used the grill to cook up a brisket, which he removed with his barehands, only to discover it was hot and nearly dropped onto the floor, but I digress. So we are already assuming the worst and cracking up when the chicken falls off of the spit and onto the floor of the grill, causing a small to medium grease fire. Well, this friend of mine, he is nothing if not determined. So he put that chicken back onto the spit and tried again. Once again, it fell off. Stuffing was all over the bottom of the grill. Grease was all over the kitchen, the door of the grill, his hands, I mean everywhere. Well, I'm literally rolling on the floor laughing while he takes the chicken out a few minutes later, burnt to a crips on one side and raw as can be on the other. What happened to the chicken, you might ask? Well, this friend ate as much of that chicken as he could. He did not develop salmonellla and actually enjoyed the part of the chicken he ate. All and all, I'd have to say a product that provides such entertainment is nothing if not a modern marvel.