Reasons Things Are Better Today than 86 Years Ago

A perspective on the recent accomplishment of a certain baseball team from Boston.

10. The Symmons Valve
You’re in the shower, trying once again to remove the toe jam that has successfully fashioned a condo next to your pinky, when suddenly, someone flushes. Uh-oh, scalded heinie, right? Not if you’ve got a Symmons valve, which compensates for changes in hot and cold water pressure to keep the temperature constant, even in the face of such bald-face attempts at (ahem) assault. The valve originally found favor in the military in the 1940s but is now widely available and routinely used by baseball players including the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

9. The Flu Vaccine
The flu, while still a major drag, no longer kills 20 million people in one shot like it did in 1918, which—prior to 2004—was the last time the Red Sox won the World Series, a fact that Yankee fans can no longer delight in bringing up ad nauseam.

8. Highways
The Eisenhower Interstate Highway system makes automobile travel relatively easy, although we still experience periodic traffic jams, such as on the way to the parade celebrating the Boston Red Sox World Series victory.

7. Heart Surgery
If your heart wears out, there’s a decent chance it can be fixed or replaced—comforting to think about should you stretch your ticker to its limit while watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series.

6. The Internet
The Internet fosters greater communication and easy access to information. For example, while watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, it is simple to log on and check pitch counts—a good thing, since there’s little chance that the crack Fox broadcast team will part with such information. The Internet also makes it simple to send and receive jokes making fun of the Yankees for being the first baseball team to blow a 3-0 lead in a four-game playoff series. (Have you seen the one of A-Rod running with a purse? Classic.) Thank you, Al Gore!

5. Video
As I see it, the idea behind video cameras is you spend the first half of your life taping stuff, and the second half watching it, which saves you the trouble of actually doing anything for those last 40 years or so. I failed to tape much of anything in those early years, so I’m stuck watching tapes that other people made, such as the one of the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series.

4. The Dishwasher
In my house, there’s an unwritten rule that he who cooks doesn’t have to clean up. The problem is, the only “he” who is old enough to be trusted around a hot stove is me. On top of that, my wife conveniently made sure she was incredibly pregnant right during the Fall Classic. She’s tricky like that, but thanks to the dishwasher, I am quite capable of womping up a heap o’ spaghetti and cleaning up the whole mess in plenty of time to go watch the Red Sox win the World Series.

3. Commercial Space Travel
We went to the moon, and now, commercial space travel is becoming a reality, albeit only for the extremely wealthy, such as Manny Ramirez. Ramirez makes about $20 million per year for playing baseball and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series. The MVP award, by the way, goes to a player on the winning team, and Manny plays for the Boston Red Sox.

2. Modern Refrigerators
Today, refrigerators make ice, rather than consume it. This is important because you need nutritious frozen pizza, hot dogs and nachos during the playoffs, and plenty of room for cold beer during the nerve-wracking late innings, when the Red Sox typically put in closer Keith Foulke, who was on the mound when they won the World Series.

1. Sippy Cups
This much I know: Kids plus liquid equals disaster. Leave a glass of water on the table and your kid will soon take joy in releasing it from its confinement, taking great pains to make sure it travels directly over your morning newspaper before creating a small pond on the floor. That’s why the spill-proof sippy cup was perhaps the most important invention of the 20th century. Now, no matter how excited my 20-month-old gets over the Red Sox winning the World Series, her milk remains (mostly) in her cup, instead of all over the Red Sox garb that she insisted on wearing for each game.

Apologies to the fine people of St. Louis for this article, who deserved a better fate, but not to the Yankee fans, who didn’t.

About the Author

Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at [email protected].


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