It's a friend of the family's 88th birthday this week- and that got me thinking.
What has she lived through? What laughs? Loves? Hurts? Fears? And I settled my thoughts on the technological advances in specific since the year she was born- 1924.
In short, she was born before: scotch tape (I'm at a loss as to how a present was wrapped); spiral notebooks; ballpoint pens; aqualungs; velcro; a- bombs; microwave (there were no Pizza Pops back then, so no midnight snacking either); prepackaged cake mixes; nylons and teflon. I'm only up to around 1950- and I've not included everything (obviously, or I'd have to spend the next twenty years on this post alone). Given all the changes in the world of today, I wonder what men and women from my grandparents generation think is the most important.
And I've come to a conclusion. I know what the most important advance in technology is, without argument. The most important technological amazement is Diet Coke.
Don't laugh/ roll your eyes please. I'm completely serious. The single most important thing in our world right now is diet coke. I have several reasons to sustain this claim.
1. I live on Diet Coke. I know it's not good for me, I'm not an idiot. But it's quick, it's caffeinated, it's fizzy and it's sweet. It's thirst quenching and refreshing. It's almost as good as a sandwich (well, not even a bit, but it's better as my evening snack than a huge tuna salad on white is).
2. 100 years ago, when the Coca Cola Bottling Company released Coca Cola, very few of the people in North America had 'weight management issues' (that's fancy for 'fat asses'- Thank YOU Fancy Nancy). Back then, a 4 oz bottle of Coke was a treat. It's not what mothers had for breakfast (Yes. I mean me. I drink Diet Coke for breakfast 6 days out of 7). As a society, we've become dependent on soda, energy drinks and juices. Drinking tap water is for losers (Yes, I mean me. I drink tap water, and am clearly a loser). Because of an increase in usage/ dependence on convenience food and drinks, there has been a corresponding increase in weight and obesity (still talking about me). This trend towards larger waistlines and higher BMI's has led towards the companies of our grandparents' generation finding solutions for the consumers (weak willed, soda guzzling idiots that we are); so we can continue to be avid supporters of their bottom lines. This need for a lower caloric beverage has led to EVERY single one of the major soda companies making a zero calorie soda. Which is awesome. I can have Diet Coke, diet rootbeer, Diet 7up, diet anything- and that is a miraculous advancement.
3. Now that I've established that consumers buy diet drinks, let me point out the best part of a diet soda. If I have 1x 8oz cup of regular coke for breakfast every day (which is likely to be the case because I hate making coffee), I would be ingesting 970ish calories/ week. Which isn't bad- if I didn't sip at a drink all day long (which I do). So, I'd be more like 970 cal/day. Totally unacceptable. That's the equivalent of two large bowls of ice cream. And if I have to choose between caffeine and ice cream, someone isn't getting out of today alive. Not me, I'll be fine. It's your life that could be risked if I'm not getting enough caffeine. Because there is no chance in H*ll I'll be giving up ice cream any time soon. So, clearly, for the betterment of humanity, I get to proclaim Diet Coke as a necessity. And I get to say, without hesitation, it's the most important development of the industrial world in the last century.
So, having copious relatives, friends and acquaintances who might read this and say, "She's finally lost her mind. What about x-rays, penicillin, and blah blah blah?" I say, "Nope. Diet Coke. Licked it, sticked it, stamped it." (That's the international childhood refrain for ending any argument).