When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll probably feel grateful for the friends and family surrounding you at the table. Other popular reasons for giving thanks include: love, health, happiness, justice, success, freedom, and maybe Kim Kardashian West’s decision to pose naked for Paper Magazine. Some folks might also toast the Internet or other major developments deemed significant for their role in advancing human society, such as the wheel or the light bulb.
But when it comes to gratitude, isn’t it the little things that count the most? Grandma’s great, but what about sliced bread? There are so many wonderful things that make our daily lives simpler and more enjoyable, but which rarely receive a nod in acknowledgement, let alone placement on a holiday themed listicle.
This year, I encourage you to thank beyond the obvious by paying homage to the non-revolutionary innovations we take for granted every day. Here are 5 underrated life enhancers worth pausing to appreciate.
1. Toilet paper
More than the flushable mechanism for which it’s named, toilet paper is a major plus. Think about it: Would you rather go number two in the middle of the woods with a handful of soft, disposable tissue specifically designed for bum rubbing, or on a fancy heated toilet with nary a wiping instrument in sight?
To be crass, toilet paper should make you shit-eating-grin-happy that you get to poop in the current day. Ancient Greeks used stones and pieces of clay to get the job done, while Romans were known to share a sponge affixed to a long stick that would sit in a communal bucket of saltwater when not in use by mom, dad, the kids, or any passing visitors. Colonial Americans rubbed their backside creases with corncobs! Mass produced toilet paper didn’t become a thing until the mid-nineteenth century. So the next time you unbutton your pants to digest a meal after stuffing your face properly, take a minute to reflect on the reality that you’re one lucky fucker in the realm of anal cleansing.
I’m not talking about vacations or relationship timeouts or the 10-minute rest periods that prevent you from going absolutely insane throughout the workday. I’m referring to the mechanical systems that literally stop you from plummeting or crashing to your death every single day. Elevators, bicycles, roller blades, trains, planes, buses, cars, strollers, and lawn mowers are all equipped with brakes, and you should be happy about it. Without the option to stop, moving by any mode of transportation becomes a lot less fun and hell of a lot more dangerous.
If you don’t depend on contacts or eyeglasses yourself, chances are you know and love at least a few who do. The hard truth is that without fixes for subpar vision, a lot of us wouldn’t exist.
From an evolutionary standpoint, impaired eyesight is an undesirable genetic trait that places people at a disadvantage in the game of survival. Darwinian theory tells us that developments in vision enhancement have leveled the playing field in the grand pursuit of living for generations, saving many a beloved “four-eyes” from becoming a casualty of natural selection. See what I’m saying?
4. Rolling Luggage
Many agree that two of the most important inventions of all time are the wheel, which propelled the Industrial Revolution and remains fundamental to modern machinery, and the sack, which enabled early travelers to carry their belongings comfortably on the road. But it wasn’t until 1970 that Bernard D. Sadow thought to combine these two life-changing innovations in a beautifully simple feat of human ingenuity: the suitcase on wheels. Thanks to rolling luggage, rich people no longer have to hire porters to accompany them to the airport, and everyone else’s arms are a lot less sore.
Spoken language gets a lot of credit for facilitating communication between humans. But where would the written word be without all the little symbols we use to spice it up? With the advent of the printing press, punctuation practices finally became more uniform, a major step forward for anyone who writes anything down ever.
Do you know how hard it would be for us to exchange information and ideas efficiently without agreed upon methods of punctuating sentences? Allow me to demonstrate by throwing it all out the window for a moment so you can see how well you understand what im saying whats that are you a little confused without parentheses and all those other little marks I know you miss the commas and the capitalization in addition to sentence breaks and apostrophes and hashtags and maybe even semi colons so dont pretend you havent slowed the reading down at this point or backtracked because poop or another word seemed out of context you stubborn ass just be grateful you know about grammar and stuff okay!