Living Matters: Brilliant inventions come in all sizes

Some people would argue that the wheel was mankind’s greatest invention. Some would say it’s the airplane. Others would say it’s the computer.

Then there’s the camera. And the telephone. And the plow.

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Sure, all grand inventions. Heck, without my cellphone, I wouldn’t be able to play Candy Crush or check out the movie times for Rocketman or text the husband to remind him to bring home some wine and cheese. Without the airplane, I would have to take an extra week off work to drive to the other side of the continent to watch my favourite team play an away game. That would not be good.

Yes, all brilliant creations, indeed.

But I have to think chocolate milk was also a brilliant invention, as were flip-flips and Licorice Allsorts. Sure, paper was a great one, but can it stand up to the zipper? I don’t even want to imagine a world where pants had no zippers. The mental pictures give me the yips.

The husband happens to think the golf cart was a brilliant invention — shows you where his priorities are — but can it compare to the suitcase on wheels? Man. Thanks to the suitcase on wheels, I can now travel to a favourite team getaway game lugging clothing that lasts me three or four weeks, even if I’m only gone for an extended weekend.

Remote controls were a brilliant invention, of course, because who on earth wants to stand up and walk to the TV to change a channel when you can do that from the comfort of the La-Z-Boy? That is such an utter pain.

Money was a grand invention — it comes in useful now and again — but the debit card is grander. And while the comb and brush were brilliant, the hair dryer trumps them both.

“In-ground sprinkler systems?” suggested the husband, suddenly in on the discussion. “They’re brilliant.”

“We don’t have one of those,” I pointed out. “But we do have an electric mixer.”

“Oh,” said the husband, who has not once used one. “I guess.”

The husband has, however, opened an umbrella, eaten a pizza, used Velcro and played a game of Scrabble, all clearly on the brilliant list.

Both of us have benefited from the washer and dryer, the non-stick frying pan and the folding lawn chair, all of which I think are up there with the wheel.

“The artificial Christmas tree was a pretty good invention,” I observed.

The husband looked at me and gasped.

“OK,” I said. “I take that back. Don’t tell the kids I said that.”

So the fake Christmas tree is off the list, since we’ll never, ever have one. The zipper, however, is on it for good. It’s what you’d call utterly brilliant.

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