Humor — Laziness is the Key to

Circa 2010

Americans are lazy. And you know what? I’d like to argue that laziness is a good thing. Laziness gets us going. It breeds innovation. After all, what do people want? They want something that can make their lives simpler. People will always buy that widget or gizmo that makes their day easier. So the forward-thinking lazy man will set his laziness aside for a few months to come up with something that promises to help people become lazier. Why? Because life is all about greed and money. And not only are greed and money good, so is good, old-fashioned laziness. Laziness is the driving force that has built this country and has made it the most prosperous in the world.

There was a time when people used to have to walk places. (I know, crazy, isn’t it?) At that time, there was no other choice. Eventually, however, folks got tired of walking, got lazy and jumped on the back of a horse. Unfortunately, they came to find out that this horse was a bear to take care of. It needed a barn to stay in, which meant someone had to build it one. Someone had to feed the horse, brush it, and generally look after it. The whole undertaking was a pain. So some lazy slob, who was no doubt tired of walking or smelling horse manure, invented the engine. A car was born.

Basic communication began with smoke signals but I have to imagine it would be pretty tiresome building a fire every time you wanted to invite someone over for dinner. Thankfully, someone invented papyrus so that people could make up formal invites. Then, because it would take monks several weeks to make copies of those invites, along came Gutenberg with a press that could crank out ten invites in a day. This allowed monks everywhere the ability to return to not talking to each other and humming.

Delivering the invites probably took months, thanks to the Pony Express, which meant that dinner was usually spoiled by the time folks received their dinner invitations. But then, along came Alexander Bell (who no doubt found opening an envelope burdensome and time consuming) to invent the telephone. This device allowed people to personally invite someone over for dinner. Sure, it’s always a pain getting up off the couch to answer the phone, but a much bigger problem is coming up with a spur-of-the-moment lie to justify declining the invitation. (No one wants to admit to being too lazy to attend.)

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And so we have the answering machine. This device allowed the excuse of being out of town to become fashionable. Enter cell phones, allowing people to be reached at all times, a development that has made ducking invitations even more difficult than ever.

And what about our kids? Without question, children are an integral part of the American nuclear family. But their primary function is to engender laziness—to help the parents out on the tedious household chores. As soon as a child is able to walk, it’s legal to make the little runt a household slave. Why should you have to take out the trash when there’s a kid around? The bright idea to assign chores to children was the secret reason behind the population boom. I suspect people were just plain tired of having to do the dishes and wash their clothes, and they figured kids were easy to boss around and fun to spank. Let kids handle the stuff that adults hate to do. Brilliant!

(Note: This plan has ultimately backfired because many children have now become lazier than their parents.)

Yes, my friend, laziness breeds innovation. Throughout history, almost everything ever invented was born from slothfulness: the steam engine, the choo-choo train, the riding lawnmower, the computer. Each of triding lawnmower, the computer. Each of these things was concocted for one reason: to give us more time to rest. (Sleep is a beautiful thing.)

Many baby boomers remember the grueling days of having to sit through numerous commercials on TV. Ugh. (These were the olden days in which there were only three networks—and you had to play with rabbit ears to get them.) Luckily, some MIT genius, who was probably tired of having to put down his Twinkies and get up to switch over to Star Trek, came up with the greatest invention in the world: the remote control. This device revolutionized television watching and the slug was born. No more having to get up off the couch (groan) and change channels. No more sending your kid to do it for you. Now it was possible to just sit in one place and push a button to allow the world (or Jersey Shore) to unfold in front of you.

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But commercials serve their own role in the promotion of laziness. Not a night goes by that several “as seen on TV” ads don’t pop up on the screen, each hawking The Garden Weasel, Wonder Hangers, The Neckline Slimmer, Smart Mop, or that crazy little Ped Egg. In such advertisements, hyper, coked-up pitchman swear they have items will make our lives easier. (The only catch? Most of these miracle items last about a week.) No need to run to the farmers market when you can have giant blueberries in your own backyard! Toss Mr. Steamy in the dryer and never do any painstaking ironing! And how about the breakthrough technology of The Flowbee? Instead of having to waste energy by squeezing a pair of scissors together, now you can simply cut and vacuum your hair! No more dandruff. Spill something? All those time-consuming trips to grab paper towels are things of the past when you buy a ShamWow!

But for my money, the one item that epitomizes just how lazy Americans have become is The Clapper, a device that has finally made our one form of exercise— getting up and turning off a light—obsolete. I’m telling you, you’ve got to think lazy to be rich!

Thank God for lazy people. Nobody is better at being lazy than an American, and it’s no coincidence that America is the richest country in the world. How did we make it to the top? By wanting to lie around at the bottom. So if you want to be wealthy, take an hour or two out of your daily television watching and invent something that will help people become lazier.

As for me, I’m off to make my dinner. I don’t know if I have the strength to cut up any vegetables tonight. Where the hell is my Slap-Chop Food Chopper? Oh, and could someone please invent something that writes articles?

Bygone Buffoonery written by Jeff Charlebois

Jeff Charlebois

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