Sunday, August 29, 2021

Wheels on Suitcases

Human beings are incredibly intelligent, innovative, inventive. Just think about what went into your i-phone, that convocation of previous inventions of cameras, telephones, recording technologies, radios, televisions, newspapers, books and more. It’s staggering.


But we can also be dumb as dirt, missing the most obvious good ideas. Like the wheeled suitcase. 


It’s estimated that the wheel was invented in Mesopotamia, some 5500 years ago. The modern suitcase had its inception in the increased travel options of the 19thcentury, from stagecoach to train, with the trunk as the most popular form of luggage. By the beginning of the 20thcentury, the smaller and more lightweight modern suitcase was invented. But it wasn’t until 1972 that someone had the idea of a wheeled suitcase and not until 1987 that the more common rollerboard wheeled suitcase became the norm. It was a simple idea to combine the wheels with the suitcase, but somehow we missed it for millennia/ centuries/ decades.


Then there’s the right-hand turn at red lights. Wiki does not tell which state had the idea first, but in my lifetime, I remember having to ask when I drove in a different state. By 1980, all 50 states (Massachusetts the last) finally saw the wisdom of the practice, both as a time-saving device and a fuel-saving one. Looking back, we can casually say, “Well, duh!” but it took a long time before we figured it out.


So let’s look at what else is staring us in the face and shouting “Hello?!!! Wake up!!!”


Like voting. Who does it hurt to have it on the weekend when you don’t have to take off work? Or for two or three days instead of one. Or to encourage the mail-in ballot. Well, the Republicans think it hurts them to make voting more easy for those with difficulty having access and they’re right. Which is why they're embarking on a massive campaign to make it easier for the rich and privileged and harder for the people they don’t want to go to school with. So some of this is deliberate. But some is just mindlessly continuing the way it’s always been done without new thoughts about what’s actually more fair, democratic, efficient and honest.


The Electoral College is another dinosaur that missed the memo that its time was past.


What can you add to the list? From the ecological (stop making and selling those damn plastic water bottles!!! Especially the small ones!) to the economic (yes, the rich should pay taxes) to the psychological (healing trauma is harder and more expensive than avoiding it with healthy parenting and schooling) to the moral (cultivating kindness is more crucial to our survival than purposefully promulgating hate) to the linguistic (“e” instead of “they” is a less-confusing pronoun for non-binary people) to the trivial (is motorized self-driving luggage the next innovation?)


Add your own idea here. _________________________________



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