Is sliced bread the epitome of our genius?
Every lick of progress for decades arrives with the proclamation, "It's the greatest thing since sliced bread."
Pop quiz: Does anyone remember what any of those other greatest things were?
Apparently, nothing yet tops sliced bread - except, maybe peanut butter. And strawberry jam.
Can this be true? I asked some readers.
"Home video players are a greater thing than sliced bread," Valerie insisted.
"The Crock-Pot tops my list," Jessica avowed.
"Do these questions keep you up at night?" Pat wondered just before calling in professional help on my behalf.
Still, nobody says, "Look at my G4 iPhone. It's the greatest thing since the Crock-Pot." Nope.
So sliced bread stands as the crowning achievement of our society. It towers over other great inventions such as Big Mouth Billy Bass the singing fish, pet rocks and Snuggies.
Six or seven centuries from now, archaeologists will report, "They could put man on the moon, but they couldn't invent anything greater than sliced bread."
Sliced bread celebrates its 83rd birthday next week. There are people walking the streets today who may not be greater than sliced bread, but they are older.
A guy named Otto Rohwedder of Missouri invented the first mechanical sliced bread machine, which went on sale July 7, 1928. The first loaves of pre-sliced bread hit store shelves shortly after, thus ending that previous common phrase, "Listen, you butcher, why can't you cut straight slices of bread?"
By 1932, the toaster had become the greatest thing since sliced bread. Thanks to uniform slicing, bread easily dropped into and popped out of toaster slots.
What hasn't become greater than sliced bread?
Caffeinated pants, for one.
Since sliced bread helps make us greater about the waistline, a company called Lytess now markets the Lytess Slimming Leggings. They infused the form fitting undergarments with caffeine to stimulate metabolic rates and burn calories on contact. Seriously.
It comes with a note that the shorts work best when worn while undertaking cardiovascular exercise and eating fewer calories.
The Amazing Pocket Chair comes close to sliced bread. As seen on TV, the tiny canvas and tubing chair, about the size of what you sat on in kindergarten, folds up small enough to fit in your pants pocket. One never knows when one will come upon an emergency situation that requires a chair.
There's the Veltop roof that turns any bicycle into a convertible bicycle. It gives you a top to put up, as opposed to a convertible car with a top that folds down.
And from Japan comes the Noodle Cooler from the Thai Noodle Machine Co. A tiny, battery-operated fan attached to your chopstick blows on your hot noodles so you won't have to.
Amazingly enough, none of these inventions outdid sliced bread to become the standard by which all other inventions are measured. If only Steve Jobs had named his invention the Bread instead of the Apple, the personal computer might have been considered the best thing since - the toaster.
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