APPLE SEEDS: Best of times, or the worst of times?
Inventions – What do you think has made the greatest impact on history?
The wheel? Printing Press? Electricity? Facebook?
The scope of that question is too enormous for philosophers and historians, so let’s take it down a notch.
What has been invented that changed and even eliminated jobs?
What gadgets are we using now that affect how we live our lives each and every day?
My current occupation (digital ad sales) didn’t even exist when I started my career. In those early days, I, true to form, pounded the streets, selling advertising for a classified newspaper, the Shoppers Market (the attractive and sassy sister to the Pennysaver).
Many, many people in Quinte eagerly anticipated the familiar thud as it landed on their front step each weekend, knowing that the pages contained their next car, job, apartment, furniture and other treasures. Calling in for messages from the pay phone in my territory, I actually spoke to the person on our front desk, who had actually spoken to the person who left the message.The ‘Shoppers’ met its demise at the hands of the Internet and Kijiji, and those golden years came to a close.
Most have their own story on what “invention” changed their lives. The stories aren’t new.
My grandfather, born in 1901, saw the culture change with a car in every driveway and a television in every home. The affluence of a post-war economy made those acquisitions a reality. Household appliances adapted new personas in electric washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.
I vividly recall the kitchen counter newly and proudly crowded by a microwave oven, (conservatively 2ft x 3ft) that could bake an apple in under 5 minutes.
Although patented in 1945, it wasn’t until the early 70s it landed on our counter. How long will it be until the art (which insists on every kernel popped without any hint of burn) of making popcorn on a stove will be lost forever?
You may perceive a sense of nostalgia creeping into this prose, as I remember a simpler time.
My first home computer, purchased in 1997, was centrally located to ensure optimal supervision while the kids navigated through the World-Wide-Web, researching school projects. Now, one isn’t enough. I have underwear older than my desktop, laptop, tablet and phone.
But I cannot deny the excitement of today’s normal.
I like having more than one TV. I like YouTube and Netflix. I like binge watching all eight seasons of Dexter, then asking “What’s next?” Which turns out to be Prison Break – intensity seems to be paramount in my choices of entertainment.
I like deciding on chicken for dinner, even if I didn’t take it out of the freezer before I went to work. (Yep… thaw in the microwave – it’s amazing)
I like 3D movies on the big screen (one more reason for popcorn, slushies and chest freezes).
I like ‘Googling it’ when I can’t remember something. As a bonus, I almost always come across something new and interesting. It is becoming harder to resist the temptation not to think at all.But, we run the risk of living our lives and making decisions according to soundbites.
Social media connects us with people, but has the effect been diluted by the very ease of how that connection has been obtained?
News is readily accessible to the masses, and is reported now, in the moment. We demand it. But at what cost? Do we get the whole story? Do we care?
To borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
Consider this decade – all of the above!
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