Our poor ancestors, or is it poor us . . . **
The first refrigerator . . .lawn mower . . . micro oven . . . snow blower . . . freezer . . . ipod . . email . . . or whatever, was the proof of man’s intelligence. Slowly, those same things have become the substitute for our intelligence.
Funny, isn’t it? Our great-great grandparents lived without even one of those items. No cars, either, but they lived quite comfortably, yet we would freeze to death or die of hunger without them.
It works like this. Someone ‘back then’ would have been secure and comfortable with a cow or two (meat, milk and butter); a couple of horses (transportation and power); a goodly supply of coal in some shed (heat); a snug buttery,( refrigerator); a well-filled root cellar (vegetables); and etc. etc. etc.
If, by some fancy time warp, we were dropped back into that time, we would have a hard time surviving. We’d probably all turn into vegetarians in trying to raise, keep alive and then turn those animals into our food supply. And no doubt would either freeze to death or burn the house down trying to make all the stoves work. Safely, I mean.
In the same vein, our poor ancestors would not survive in our homes.
We could provide them with freezers full of food, a big gas furnace, fancy gas stove, micro oven, dehydrated food, can openers and all the other run-of-the-mill stuff of our lives, but it wouldn’t do a bit of good if they didn’t know what it was and, more important, how to make use of it.
They’d freeze to death trying to find a place to build a fire. and be happy to find a fireplace.
Who would be there to tell them that if they’d only poke that little box on the wall they’d get heat? Or, on hot summer days, how to get cool?
They’d be surrounded by shelves filled with cans, full freezers, but again how to get at it all, and how to cook it, anyway. A bonfire in the back yard??? They could take our stoves apart and not find one spot for a cooking fire.
As . . . One summer when JR was about 11 or so years old, we were vacationing in a primitive area and the cabins were heated by wood stoves. Well, AW and I were sleeping-in one morning when JR was up and wanted to get a-going. He found stuff to do, but, dang it, the weather was nippy.
So, sleepily, his Dad told him he could build a fire in the stove. After all, JR had built plenty of them in Cub Scouts to roast wieners and marshmallows, and while he started getting wood, AW and I went back to sleep.
Not for long however, for soon we were awake and coughing, rubbing our eyes and gasping for breath. We thought he had set the place on fire, but no, he hadn’t. All he’d done was just build a fire. A good one, too.
The only trouble though, was while he knew there was a ‘hole’ for the fire, the only ‘hole’ he could find to put it in, was the oven. And there is where he had carefully built his fire.
See, he would have turned up a thermostat without even asking, but a fire???? No way.
Yup, that generation found their meat on the hoof, raised it, (and the food to feed it), killed it, cleaned it and knew how to store it, too. They could look at our homes and even if they were told what each item was, their task would be hard.
The first furnace, gas stove, freezer, micro, TV, Ipod, computer, were wonderful proof of our intelligence (and that isn’t even mentioning a man on the moon, or landing equipment on Mars) , but with not too long a passage of time, every one of those items has become a ho-hum event, and the substitute for our intelligence.
We’ve become the ‘prisoners’ of push buttons, quick food, instant communication, and all other conveniences. Crazy, crazy, crazy. But I love, and use, everyone of them, and probably will also use the next one that comes along. Always have, and the same with you, too. Yeah.
** Oh poor us? If only someone could only pour us some refreshment through a porous filter . . .
Go see more of Hour Crazy Language on the other tab of Ethel’s blog. It’s amazing how mixed up it all is, once one gets looking. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. They were too close to the door to close it.