Monday, March 12, 2012

Nothing New

When I was in the third grade, my teacher told us that nothing new could be invented because all the frontiers of science had already been explored and exhausted. She said all we could do was to make variations of things, which already existed, like a different flavor of pop or potato chips, or a new style of car. As far as actual new products however, my generation would have none.

Clearly, she was delusional. Aside from the obvious electronic products such as computers, cell phones, I-pad or Kindle, GPS, pagers, and a slew of other gizmos, there is a long list of items that we didn’t have. There was no such thing as software, MP3’s, CD’s, or DVD’s. We didn’t even have VCR tapes or cassettes, although 8-tracks were popular at the time.

I’ve come up with several more examples as well. I realize some of them are simply variations, but some can only be categorized as new inventions. I remember when Hidden Valley Ranch dressing came out, as well as Diet Coke, Doritos, Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets, Gatorade and PowerAde (We did have Tang), Lunchables, energy drinks and more. And I distinctly recall the day my dad brought home a new candy that almost exploded in the mouth – Pop Rocks.

Back then no one had ever heard of Instant Messaging, texting, e-mail, or video conferencing. If you wanted to communicate, there was the Post Office and a very expensive telephone service. I remember when call forwarding, call waiting and caller ID were fascinatingly new concepts.

There was no direct deposit, no ATM’s, and no debit cards. Stores had no scanners either - they would have been rather pointless. Since barcodes didn’t exist, there was nothing to scan.

We had no microwave popcorn, no microwave oatmeal, soups, or dinners. But then, we really would’ve had no use for any of these – we had no microwave. And there’s more. We had no digital clocks or watches, no hand-held calculators, video games, remote control toys, and no digital cameras – we didn’t even have Polaroid cameras. We did have typewriters, but no word processors. (That may have been a good thing – their usefulness was short-lived with the proliferation of personal computers).

The list goes on. Cars didn’t have front-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, automatic headlights, automatic locks, airbags, or my favorite – no seatbelts!

DNA was only theoretical science, lasers only existed in physicist’s labs (or in the movies), and a computer with less processing power than I have on my I-phone filled a large room.

I know I’ve omitted a lot of stuff but I think I’ve made my point, which is that a lot of things have come along in my life. New inventions. Life certainly has changed. Yet, some things never change. Not long ago, I heard a guy on the radio, satellite radio; say that nothing new could be invented. That all we can do now is make variations of what is already in existence. Really? Must’ve had the same third grade teacher I had.

Bruce A. Borders, author and songwriter has over 500 songs and 9 books. Over My Dead Body, and The Journey, his latest books, are available on Apple I-Pad®, Amazon Kindle®, Barnes & Noble Nook® and Sony Reader®, Kobo, Diesel Books, and Smashwords. For more information, visit See Bruce’s Amazon Author Page at or view his Smashwords Profile at

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