Jonathan Wright


Here it is 2014, one of those years that used to sound so incredibly futuristic when I was growing up way back in the 1900s—and we still have to put up with some amazingly primitive stuff.

You would think by now we would have cars that run on something other than those intolerably old-fashioned round rubber tires that have been in use ever since the first cars were invented. I thought by now we would at least have vehicles that skim the air a few inches off the surface of the road to cut down on friction, the wear and tear of the vehicle, and so on. Not so apparently.

You would think by now we would have computer printers and photocopiers that don’t depend on those tired old forever-need-replacing toner or ink refills and the like. It’s one of the biggest rackets around: this thing of buying a printer—and then spending many times the price of the printer over its lifetime in toner or ink refills.

I love imagining the future when someone finally invents a printer using some internal mechanism that renders refills obsolete once and for all. But, of course, the companies that manufacture the refills will fight it tooth and nail.

You would think by now, 2014, that technology would be advanced enough to make power lines a thing of the past. Underground, overhead—I don’t care. It seems that by now they should be part of the past, that we would already be at the point at which we would be reminiscing—“Remember when electricity required millions of miles of lines and cables? Remember when ‘power lines,’ as they called them, were visible almost everywhere, strung from pole to pole?”

We have wireless phones now. Why don’t we have wireless power?

How about grass growth retardants? If I knew how to pull this one off, I could make millions. Why hasn’t a chemical been invented by now that you can spray on your lawn to slow down its growth? Countless people spend endless hours just keeping up with the grass growing around their homes, pushing or riding lawn mowers when they have more pressing activities awaiting them. Such a chemical is really something we should have by now. For some reason, however, I doubt the lawn mower manufacturers don’t share my view.

Finally, the one that has occupied my mind for years, is what you might call the “quick ice-maker.” Again, if I knew how to bring this to the light of day, I could retire for life. Think about it: here it is 2014, and we still have to wait a half-hour to an hour to make ice cubes.

We have microwaves that can heat food or drinks in a matter of seconds. Why not a machine that can freeze food or drinks in a matter of seconds? Can you imagine the market for such an item? I just can’t understand why it hasn’t already happened.

So it is with the other mysteriously undeveloped items I’ve mentioned here. It’s hard to fathom why someone hasn’t seized on these ideas to bring out their full financial potential.

For all its marvels, the 21st century still harbors a multitude of primitive items that beg to be modernized or transformed. I guess we’ll just have to continue plodding along in primitive misery until someone capitalizes on these amazing opportunities.

Somehow we’ll survive, as difficult as it may be. Hopefully our patience will eventually be rewarded.


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