Rob's Soapbox Archives

January 18th, 2010


Technological advancements are great; they make our lives easier and in many cases, prolong them. Whether it be the microwave oven, the cell phone, the electronic organizer, the video game console, the portable defibrillator, the remote control, the internet, the portable video camera, insulin calculators, or even the flask, there have been countless inventions in my lifetime alone that have made life better and easier.

Okay, you’re right…the flask was around long before I was but it certainly has made my life a lot easier. But I digress.

When I was young, all I heard was how easy I had it compared to not just my parents, but even my older sisters, just 10 and 11 years my senior. The advancements being made were just beginning but were coming at a seemingly lightning quick pace. My sisters, for example, lived their entire childhood without a microwave oven, yet I had access to one beginning at the age of 8.

A child never understands these lectures about “how easy” they have it. Suffice to say, people born in the last two decades simply have no idea what life was like before cell phones, the internet and video games. The electronic revolution that began in the 1990s is stunning beyond explanation and has made it a great time to be alive…well, at least a much easier time to be alive….well, at least a more convenient time to be alive.

But lately we’ve gone off the rails.

There is a point at which we make life too easy for ourselves; we stop thinking and doing for ourselves. If we take away even the most mundane of all tasks, the most simplest of simple things, then how in the world will we confront our biggest problems? What’s to come down the pike next; a machine that breathes for us even though we’re totally physically capable of inhaling? Perhaps someone will actually invent the now infamous Homer Simpson chair, in which you sit while watching television and never get up to go to the bathroom. Ah, yes...convenience and sloth all at once; a chair that you poop in.

Don’t be misguided; this is not about envy or jealousy directed at things I never got to enjoy in my youth nor is it misdirected stubbornness at insisting we hold on to things more archaic. I am happy for the presence of things that make life easy and enjoyable for all and I am equally aware that I can choose not to indulge in certain creature comforts of luxury. For example; I still use a pen and a piece of paper to make notes and “to do lists,” while my peers all use PDAs. Good for them, good for me; live and let live.

I do not begrudge the existence of these great advances in technology; I resent and despise the avenues they’ve led to. The idea and the mindset that exists in America today is that everything in life should and must be made easier, even the most basic of things.

Some things are meant to be hard…like life.

Similarly, there are certain survival skills, and basic mundane tasks that should still be experienced. Show me a man under 30 today that knows how to change a tire and I’ll show you a foreigner. So many fundamental things we should all not only know how to do, but should all still insist on doing, are going by the wayside. People don’t know how to tie knots, build and start fires, replace garbage disposals, pitch tents or gut fish.

More egregious are the things we aren’t even willing to do any longer. There are actually companies that people pay to come to their homes and scoop up their dog’s poo.

Really America? Seriously? Is this where we’ve come to?  A nation willing to tolerate shedding of hair, licking of faces and midnight barking is drawing the line at bending over and scooping up the same creature’s doo-doo?

Similarly revolting is our laziness when it comes to food preparation. I have no problem with fast food and convenience items, but a new trend developed over the last decade that took our incompetence and unwillingness to a whole new level; ready prepped food.

For example, we are now too lazy to whisk our own eggs, for you can by pre-beaten eggs, ready to pour into a frying pan. Thank God for that invention. Saving me the laborious 23 seconds it takes to find, crack open and stir a couple of eggs will leave me enough time in life to cure cancer.

Chopping vegetables is a thing of the past as we can now purchase, for an exorbitant price, pre-chopped onions and other veggies; this is why Al Qaeda wants to kill us, folks.

Lunchables made their way to store shelves in the late 20th century to alleviate from parents the horrendous task of actually packing their child’s lunch. Christ on a crutch, how hard is it to actually have some hands-on involvement in overseeing and preparing what your child eats each day and shoving it into a paper bag?

Everywhere you look, from pre-mixed, ready-made cookie dough to already dipped caramel apples, everything is done for us! Who can’t and/or doesn’t want to go through the actual process of dipping an apple in caramel? That’s the fun of it!

And then came this; my wife came home last week with eggs in a bag. Never mind the disgust level I have for this on a hygiene front, let’s just discuss the total idiocy of this culture as represented by eggs in a bag.

These were eggs that had been hard boiled and peeled and were now ready to be eaten. You really have to stand back in awe of the total extinction of any form of initiative on the part of our nation when we can’t even boil eggs.

I eat hard boiled eggs every morning; I have for years now. Every day right before the show I open up my lunch bag and pull out my Tupperware container of 4 eggs, previously boiled and peeled by my very own hands, and add a little salt and pepper to them and chow down. The boiling and peeling process takes place each weekend, as it has for the last decade at my house, so I am very aware of just how difficult, time consuming and labor intensive the process of egg preparation is.

And it is none of them. A little time, patience and dexterity leads to a dozen and a half eggs perfectly boiled and peeled every Sunday.

To make sure I wasn’t missing something, I did some internet research on the rigors of hard boiling eggs and sure enough, there are endless reams of websites, chat rooms, blogs and posts dedicated to America’s trials and tribulations with the hard boiled egg. Apparently, many of you stay up all hours of the night trying to determine exactly how long you should boil an egg for. Others are mystified by how long the boiled eggs should sit and cool before being peeled (which also includes the very divisive argument of whether or not eggs should be peeled at the time of cooking or the time of eating…not since Ali Versus Frazier has America been so split).

Alas, the biggest problem I found, was in the actual peeling process. Many Americans think there is some sort of conspiracy on the part of the egg farmers in our country to intentionally deliver “tighter” eggs, which are harder to peel. The theory is that such deliveries will lead to one egg ruined in the peeling process out of every four, and increase egg sales by 25%. I am not making this up.

Thank God none of these people has to undertake the enormity that is toasting bread.

Here’s the scoop; always use the oldest eggs you can find to hard boil. The fresher the egg, the harder it will be to peel. Put some olive oil, salt and white vinegar in the pot, fill with water and bring them to a boil, turn the stove off at boiling and cover the pot for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water and they’re done. When you peel them is your business.

I’ve just saved your life. Now stop buying eggs in a bag.