My preferred way of learning twentieth-century American history is by reading Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck’s collections of hysterically funny newspaper columns. 

From Bombeck, I realized that disposable diapers haven’t always existed.  I guess I just figured pioneer women beat the family’s clothing on river rocks and cooked jack rabbits over an open flame, but of course they swaddled their infants in Pampers.  Bombeck wrote about the labor- and stench-saving invention of disposable diapers, and I realized plastics haven’t always made it possible.

From Dave Barry I learned that interstate freeways haven’t always graced America’s landscape.  He wrote that people stopped at something called “roadside attractions” without first using exit ramps.  I wish the transporation department would revert back to this system, mainly because I am constantly missing exits and end up driving anywhere from 8 to 30 miles out of my way to take the next exit ramp.  It’s very restricting, the exit ramp system.

I wonder, what will my generation’s contribution to humanity’s list of “back in my day….” be?  My guess is, among other things, the lint trap.  When you extract the lint trapfrom your clothes dryer, it’s full of pet hair/jeans/sweater/sock lint that combines into a piece of brightly colored felt that smells like Downy and falls apart in your hands. 

Therefore, you have to roll the felt, scraping at all sides of the trap, until you are inhaling floating particles that smell good but you know are full of dog dandruff. 

I’m not sure what technological advances will occur during my lifetime, but I sure hope one of them replaces the lint trap.  Once they’re gone, my generation will have one more element to unite ourselves and insulate us from the next generation’s complexities.

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