Not To Be Taken Away

I am one who tries not to take things for granted.  In my life I have experienced several situations where things I relied on were taken away from me for one reason or another.  Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it wasn’t.  But as I live each day on this planet I notice and observe things and in the quiet times I always reflect on what I have.  There are things I am thankful for that didn’t come with a price tag, such as my wife, my dog, and the breathtaking view I have from my patio.  There are those things that we’ve purchased that make lives more enjoyable such as our home, our iPod, our vehicles, air conditioning, and other things we own.  But those are all small things in the bigger picture.  This post will focus on, in no particular order, the things that we as humans should not and cannot live without.  Without many of these things we would still be living in caves and dragging our women around by the hair.  No, I don’t condone the latter, just thought I’d paint a picture…

THE TOILET
The one thing that truly sets humans apart from animals and other life forms is our use of the toilet.  Dogs can be “housebroken” but that condition falls well short of using an indoor method of relieving oneself.  They can be housebroken but they still have and are expected to go outside.  Cats get to enjoy doing their thing inside while using a litter box but they certainly aren’t discouraged from going outside, plus using a litter box isn’t very sanitary.  Here’s a nice picture:  a bird lays several eggs in a nest, those eggs hatch, and each of those cute little newborns stay in the nest until they’re old enough to fly away.  That nest serves as their toilet until that time and they all share it.  Do they fly away because they’re old enough to do so or are they just plain sick and tired of wallowing in each other’s crap day in and day out?  The toilet offers us humans a dignified way to do what we have to do, as long as there is a door involved and a minimal number of splinters.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not all too fond of crapping in the woods.  It’s physically awkward and wiping my ass with a leaf isn’t my cup of tee.  Although we almost always have the option of either, I think most of us would prefer to utilize indoor plumbing for the most part.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
I don’t rank alcoholic beverages in this list because I enjoy them.  I rank them here because this planet would be intolerable if it weren’t for them.  Could you begin to imagine what this place would be like if there was no alcohol?  Russia wouldn’t exist, Hawkeye Pierce and BJ Hunnicutt would have committed suicide while in Korea, going to a baseball game would be a serious drag and 83 percent of all women everywhere would be ugly.  Alcohol allows us to experience some of life’s more important emotions such as courage, lust, happiness, and excitement.  It makes cigarettes taste better, driving a car becomes more fun and it makes it easier for some of us to fall asleep.  Alcohol consumption has even been rumored to cure Restless Leg Syndrome if you consume enough of it.  This, of course, isn’t a new view – all through history man has documented the consumption of alcohol and its importance in society.  Who am I to argue with history?  History is our most enlightened teacher.

MEAT
It comes in so many varieties that you have to admire the flexibility and wonderful overall yumminess of one of my all-time favorite things – meat.  Meat can be red, white, dark, light, beef, pork, venison, bear, moose, ostrich, fish, foul, and yes, even human flesh.  Meat can be prepared ten zillion ways and its doneness can range from raw to that of a hockey puck.  Meat can be consumed as a part of any meal at any time of day.  Sausage with breakfast, chicken in your lunch salad, a great big, juicy t-bone for dinner and maybe even some beef flavored ice cream for a late snack!  Beef is what’s for dinner and pork is the other white meat.  They even have beef or poultry flavored toothpaste for dogs!  Meat provides the nutrients we need to live.  Eating meat allows us the luxury of learning how to pick bones clean with our teeth.  Otherwise this ancient tradition began by early man would be lost in the hustle and bustle of modern utensil-using life.  There is so much to be thankful for when it comes to meat that it makes me a bit teary-eyed just thinking about it.  Meat, you are my friend.  Meat, I love you.

TIME
Without time our civilization would be completely and hopelessly lost.  Days would last forever, meaning that vacation you’ve been looking forward to would never come.  If everything were timeless nothing would ever change or age or at least we’d have now real way of measuring such things.  Time is also an abstract.  Could we have a “good time” without the abstract view of time?  Could it ever be “dinner time” or “party time”?  What about “Hammer time” and “time after time”?  “Just in time” or “bedtime” would mean nothing to us.  Without having “bedtime” our kids would stay up all night and drive us crazy.  Without time in general that night would last forever thus possibly causing us to kill our children which would then lead to “jail time”, if that actually existed in this world without time.  Therefore, I think we can prove that time is as necessary to our survival as meat, water, shelter, and the need to feel loved.  Thank you Maslow and thank you, Father Time.

WATER
Water continues to amaze yet confound us but it is undeniably the essence of life.  Water giveth and taketh away.  While we understand the importance of water, we continually do things to our planet to make it harder and harder to get good, clean quantities of it.  Water has suffered one of the most unexplainable fates known to man.  Once taken directly from the ground, then through taps in the household, drinking water has now been made into a commodity sold in stores.  Suddenly our society believes the only water worth drinking must come from some kind of natural spring in Maine or Oregon.  You may believe you are drinking “better water” but the real fact is you are just lining the pockets of some corporate schmuck who found a clear, bubbling crude in the form of water on some hilltop in the woods.  The water that flows through my home tap is certified by my town to be safe.  They provide me with annual documentation that shows how many PPB of anything and everything living in my water supply.  I like my tap water.  But now I have to feel guilty about it because I fill my dog’s water bowl with it but I usually drink the bottled stuff from my refrigerator.  Why?  Not because I think it’s better water, but rather because it comes in a plastic bottle that I can take with me anywhere I happen to be going.  I have a water dispenser in the door of my refrigerator but I have grown so accustomed to reaching for the bottle that I only use that feature for dispensing ice.  I feel as though I have shunned water, as though I have let it down and not following through on water’s expectations of me.  To make myself feel better, I’ll provide some important quotes about water, the lifeblood of our civilization.

“I bought some instant water one time but I didn’t know what to add to it.“
Steven Wright

“There’s something wrong with a mother who washes out a measuring cup with soap and water after she’s only measured water in it.“
Erma Bombeck

“I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.”
W. C. Fields

“Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.”
Dave Barry

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
Dan Quayle

“I didn’t go to high school. I think that after you learn to read and write and do your numbers and flush the toilet behind yourself, you don’t need no more schoolin’. You need to get out in the water and swim.”
Wilford Brimley

MUSIC
There can be no sadness explained, happiness experienced, or virtue obtained without the richness of music.  Music allows us to dream and experience the full emotional spectrum that our brains allow us to process and ponder.  Music and those who create it have obviously been here forever and have helped us become who we are.  There is a form of music for everyone and with each new generation of humans comes the prospect of new types of music previously undefined.  Anyone can create it using any object.  It can be created by blowing, banging or even peeing on something.  It can have rhythm or be without any definable beat.  Music is both something personal and for the masses.  Music can and often does inspire and lead nations and people to do great things.  Music has the power to draw many of like interests and common thought together, such as the Woodstock Festival in 1969.  Original predictions said no more than 50,000 people would attend the event.  The power of music stepped in and proved how it could change the world’s culture by bringing together more than 500,000 people on the Yasgur Farm in New York State.  Music in itself is so powerful that every country on Earth has a national anthem.  However, the British, being their usual “have to be different than everybody else about everything”, insist they have a “British Anthem”, not a “National Anthem”.  Sheesh.

ELECTRICITY
Electricity isn’t for those who like to live in the dark.  We owe almost everything we have come to rely on and take for granted today to all of the scientists, researchers, and inventors that worked to discover and harness it.  Ben Franklin’s famous experiment in 1752 is probably the single most significant event in the understanding of electricity.  I suppose you can say that Ben made everything possible from the Internet to blenders to microwave ovens to television to electric cars to, well, almost everything.  Imagine what your life would be like without electricity.  There is a reason why man evolved and man couldn’t have fully evolved without it.  Even the simple task of igniting a gas grill is dependant on that spark that is generated.  For many years the Chicago Cubs thought they could get away with playing only day games and thumbing their collective noses at Ben’s pursuits.  But in 1988 they finally succumbed to the pressure of marketing and the power of electricity by adding lights to Wrigley Field to illuminate the playing field.  Even where tradition seems strong and unflappable, the power of light enhances and inspires…and makes more money for the Cubs ownership!

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1 Comment

  1. gas grills can really make very tasty and juicy barbecue `’-

    Reply

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