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National Editorials & Columns

earn to read, understand more deeply

If you haven’t figured it out by now I am both a realist and a dreamer. One of my most coveted ideas is that all of life must balance. I must work and I must play. I must give credence to my physical side, my emotional side, my mental side and my spiritual side. Literacy allows me to do all that. I even balance my reading among those items. I read to learn and I learn to read and understand more deeply. 

The other day as I was working on creating a quiz about inventions, I started straying off the subject and started dreaming about inventions I wish could be invented. This fascination with inventions not yet invented started when as newlyweds, my husband and I were driving from our wedding location to where we would live. It was a long drive and my foot was burning and I thought why can’t someone invent a way to keep the accelerator going even if my foot isn’t on it, so I can relieve my foot for at least a short time. 

Later, when that invention came about, I embraced cruise control as maybe few do. You see I completely believe in going the speed limit. The problem is my foot sometimes gets heavy, and I react to those drivers whizzing past me, so suddenly I am above the speed limit. 

When I got my first car with cruise control my life changed.  I use cruise control in town, out-of-town, anywhere unless the roads are slippery.  It doesn’t just keep me from possible tickets, it keeps me safer, and it allows my attention to look more diligently for obstacles in the road, instead of down at the speedometer.

So from that time on I started recording dream inventions that I hoped someone would invent.  Some on my list are:  a handy dandy machine that would allow me to wash my dishes before I serve the meal (not paper plates) or to use an automatic stain cleaner that attacks stains on my clothes while in the washing machine.  I also want a mouse trap that puts the mouse, after caught, outside for the scavengers to eat. 

Thank you Mr. Edison for the light bulb; now I want one that gives the perfect light for me and doesn’t burn out. I want an invention that keeps the dust from collecting in my house, so my allergies won’t kick up.  Then there is my deep desire for clear online instructions that I can successfully follow.

I am most thankful for my washing machine — after washing on a washboard and using a wringer washer I thank Mr. Hurley and all those who improved his invention each time I use my modern machine. 

Besides cruise control, I profoundly thank whoever invented that GPS machine. I spend many less hours getting lost — talk about a confidence builder for me. I always said I could get lost in a paper bag.  I don’t know my directions, and I use landmarks to get me where I need to go. 

One time my mother frantically called me before I left home (BCP — before cell phones) to tell me to turn at the blue house not the yellow one (Would you believe the owners painted my landmark?) 

Thank you Mr. Staude for my garage door opener — getting out in rain and sleet were nightmares for me.  Thank you Mr. Thurman for that motor driven vacuum cleaner.  Thank you Mr. Bramah for my flush toilet.  Those outhouses were the pit. 

Mr. Otis, that passenger elevator was a wonderful idea.  Now could they be made less claustrophobic?  Mr. Hunt you created that marvelous safety pin.  I wonder if you knew how many ways I would use it.  I use it about as often as I use that paper clip Mr. Vaaler invented in 1899.  In 1891, Mr. Naismith even invented Basketball.  Now, look where it has gone! 

What would we do without our inventors? Some inventions need refined and some need to be invented.  I eagerly wait to see the inventions of the future.  Now if I could learn how to turn off those instructions built into my word processor that insist I capitalize every line I’d feel better.

Have you ever taken time to appreciate all the inventors who have made our life easier? 

Until next week…  Christine Pauley

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