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The other day on the internet, I saw an old commercial of a semi truck that had these words painted on the side: JONNY KAT, KITTY LITTER. For some reason, that had a profound affect on me. Imagine a semi full of kitty litter! 40,000 pounds of scented, colored and packaged cat-box contents!
That has to say something about our affluent society, about the shape of our civilization. Some of our past inventions are quite practical and ingenious. The self-sealing, puncture-proof tire, mercury lights, insecticide ear tags, microwave ovens, the Salk vaccine, four-wheel drive, frozen orange juice and boxed beef. Pistachio tree roots are susceptible to certain kinds of root rot, but peach tree roots are more resistant, so the pistachio growers graft pistachio trunks onto peach tree roots. Clever.
Consider how much artificial insemination has done to improve the quality of our livestock production. Genetic engineering is space-age technology.
But sometimes when we strive to achieve, we go off the deep end. Take the cell phone. When they first appeared on the scene they were expensive, heavy and required two hands to operate. Now you can get a disposable one with a camera that adds, subtracts, calculates square roots, tells you the time in Singapore, wakes you up, plays you a tune, gives you the weather and news, takes your pulse, calendars all your events and reminds you of them all, and controls all appliances in your house! What I’d like to find is a cell phone that gives me more hours in a day.
And speaking of rotting edges affluence, how about aerosol cheese spread? I thought plastic wrapped, individual cheese slices were pretty decadent, but you can also foam it onto your crackers like shaving cream.
Yep, we’ve surrounded ourselves with creations that have gone a step beyond their original purpose: fender skirts, square headlights and veterinarians with PhD’s. Some might even include Pekingese, Chihuahua or Appaloosa in that group, but I know how sensitive animal breeders are so I certainly wouldn’t include them. Obviously, our adventures into the extreme or entertaining are useful. We learn and perfect by doing.
Well, my digital ballpoint pen is playing, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” so I guess it’s time to brush my teeth and hit the sack. I hope the batteries are still charged in my computerized flosser.
Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com.