Say a word of thanks for these unsung heroes

Robert Roe

Like Batman stalking the Joker on an overcast Gotham night, or the server who cleans up the mess after you accidentally spill your cold, sticky cola all over the restaurant booth, unsung heroes abound. They are like Waldo – if you look close enough, you can often find him or her milling in the crowd.

Such is the case of Lew Wallace, the wunderkind who invented the snooze alarm. Imagine a time before this miraculous contraption. It’s 5am. The alarm goes off. “But,” you say to yourself, “I do not want to get up.” Before the advent of the snooze button, you were fated to roll, stumble or fall out of bed to face whatever the day had planned. Thanks to Wallace, you are now able to stare Chronos in the face, laugh mightily, and seize ten or fifteen minutes of time to complete your dream about mermaids. Or mermen. Or Whatever.

How many relationships have been consummated because of the toothpick? Do you think your parents would have fallen in love if, on the night of their very first date, your Father smiled a toothy smile and leaned in for the first kiss, only to be rebuffed because of a wad of spinach stuck between his goofy grinders?

For every artificial heart invented, there is a lint roller that keeps us from taking half the cat’s fur in to work each day on our pants.

The entrepreneurial Titan who came up with the plastic Popsicle stick is my personal hero. 11-year-old Frank Epperson’s wooden invention was perfected by a person whose name has been lost to the ages. Well, at least to my internet search. The joy of a chomping into a Fudgesicle without the worry of grinding teeth on that splintery stick in the middle. It makes snacking a treat again. The wooden popsicle is like the Tootsie Pop from hell. Imagine your teeth on a chalk board instead of fingernails. That is what it feels like. To recover from that takes a powerful taste creation…which is where Spam Spread comes in.

Who would have thought Spam, that culinary treat that cannot be beat, could be improved upon? Yet the masterminds of meat mushing found a way. All the savory goodness of spam with the consistency of tepid cream of wheat, Spam Spread is the unheralded taste sensation that should be sweeping the nation. Pass the crackers, please!

Speaking of which, people would be crackers to forget the contribution to human kind that is the Velcro Shoe. The footwear industry seriously tripped up (pun intended) when they took so long to manufacture shoes that could be secured without the Strings of Death, otherwise known as laces. Humanity is walking tall thanks to this welcome addition to ambulation.

The remote control. This one invention has saved wear and tear on our feet for decades, culminating in billions of steps saved between you and the electronic gadget of your choice. Of course, it might also have contributed to the obesity crisis in America, but hey! Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?

So, here’s three cheers to the people who have made our lives easier. Cup Holder Creator, I salute you. Goo Gone genius, bravo. Five blade razor raconteur, smooth move. Your efforts have made life a little easier.

Robert Roe