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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

The World's Greatest Inventions

by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

A couple of days ago, I retrieved one (of about a hundred) of our family doglets' chew bones from the seemingly unreachable chasm under my youngest and quietest daughter's bed using an ingenious invention of my own making—namely a straightened-out wire clothes hanger. This same apparatus also comes in handy for retrieving various undergarments (along with a metric ton of lint) that somehow fall behind—and then underneath—our washer and dryer.

The clothes hanger/wonder hook prompted me to consider some other indispensable inventions that often make me question how I ever survived without them.

First, I must pay homage to the marvels of the Squatty Potty toilet stool. The Squatty Potty has absolutely revolutionized my semi-private bathroom/cell-phone zombification/harassment by pets time. Without going into details, let's just say that the Squatty Potty "optimizes the workflow" when I'm taking care of business. In fact, I'd take the Squatty Potty with me to my workplace if I could do it without risking public humiliation.

Next, I need to say a few words about the Life360 app. For those of us who have made the mistake of purchasing our children a cell phone, the Life360 app eases the pain and guilt by allowing us to stalk them virtually as they go about their day. We can even monitor their speed if we've also made the grave error of purchasing them a vehicle.

Gone are the days when parents could be blissfully ignorant about what their college-age children might be up to in the middle of the night. With Life360, we can wake up paranoid in the wee hours of the morning and be comforted to see that they have arrived safely at destinations like The Tipsy Turtle or The Dixie Chicken—undoubtedly participating in an all-night prayer meeting.

Speaking of cell phone apps, my wife and I have also come to rely on the Google Maps app almost any time we leave our home. Neither of us inherited the sense-of-direction gene, so before Google Maps came along, we often found ourselves wrestling with a giant paper map of our own hometown if we had to find our way anywhere other than church, Walmart, the mall or any Mexican food restaurant in the city.

If we went out of town, we risked impaling our eyeballs with the corners of a massive Rand McNally Road Atlas we kept crammed in the storage pocket behind the driver's seat of the car. In emergency cases, we would stop at a gas station to ask for directions and hope we weren't speaking to a serial killer or someone selling Amway products.

Nowadays, precise directions to the nearest Taco Bell are only a few taps away, and we can even choose to have our trip narrated by a woman with an Irish accent so we feel like we're in Europe!

It's amazing to consider that I lived a great deal of my life without a cell phone, personal computer or even an assistive toilet stool. Sometimes, I think that life might not be so bad without all of the distractions some new inventions provide—except when nature calls and I reach for my iPhone and the amazing Squatty Potty.
Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" 2-13-24 column

Jase Grave's "Quips and Salsa" columns
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