I was once asked, “What do you think is the greatest invention ever created?” My first thoughts were iPods, computers, and cell phones. Those are all amazing life-changing inventions, but then I was told to stop, take a step back, and truly think. I could live without my computer; there is paper. I could survive without my iPod. I could easily communicate without a cell phone; there are house phones and a postal system.
My friend who asked me this question told me to go home and think. Just think until I thought of something I could not live without. As I lay in bed that night, one thought swirled around my brain, preventing me from drifting off into oblivion. What is one thing that is so amazing I could not survive or would be devastating to be without? What is that greatest invention?
Finally, I drifted off to sleep while having the weirdest dream.
“All of the items have arrived, Ms. -----,” a tiny robotic voice squeaked. -----glanced down at the little white cubic robot, and patted its head.
“Thank you, Sandrine. I will be there momentarily to start the show.” This was the biggest show to date. -----stood up from her vanity, straightened her little black dress and confidently walked toward the stage for another show of “What is the Greatest Invention?” She stepped onstage to thunderous applause and blinding white lights. “Welcome! Welcome to another amazing episode of “What is the Greatest Invention?” I am your host, -----. Now, let’s see these inventions!” Suddenly, fifteen items were rolled onto the stage. “We are going to start with the first item.” With a flourish, Sarah pulled off the black cloth that covered the large, oddly shaped invention. “A car! Is this the greatest invention? Are there any naysayers?”
“Ay. What about a horse? A horse can easily replace a car. They are more fuel-efficient, though slower,” a voice rang out. ----- nodded thoughtfully and moved onto the next item. That was how the show worked. The host would remove the cover from each item and if there was an alternative for the item, then the invention was not the winner.
“The next item is…a supermarket.” ----- lifted up the mini model of a supermarket, complete with robotic people and mini cars.
“People used to scavenge. Shopping is not a necessity. Food can be found elsewhere.”
“The next item is a tissue,” ------ called out while lifting up a tissue from a podium, as the man who contradicted the supermarket as the greatest invention sat down, much to the audience’s dismay. They clearly thought supermarkets were irreplaceable. However, without fail a woman mentioned handkerchiefs and the tissue was placed back on its podium. ----- asked the crowd, “What about email?”
“Back in the day, we wrote real letters with stationary. None of this silly instant messaging thing.” The audience turned its collective head and glared at the old woman until she sat down
“Next, I have up here a bicycle!”
“Bah. We can just walk!”
“What about an oven?”
“I use a fire-pit. It saves electricity and power.”
“A plane? This is one important invention that revolutionized war and trade!”
“Ships are just as usable.”
All the items were rejected one after another. Sometimes ----- could only hold up the item, or a model, before the item was rejected. This was one of the most ruthless shows. ----- was nervous because there were only two items left on stage. “There are two items left on stage. If one of these is not the greatest invention, then the show will be back next week. However, if one of these is the greatest, then the show will shift topics to the greatest type of shoe. Now, let us see these two items.” With that said, ----- whipped off the covers with a flourish. As the covers fell, the crowd gasped. There was a refrigerator which was quickly booed because people could easily use cold boxes. The other item was—
I awoke with a gasp. I knew what the greatest invention ever invented was. The invention was so obvious I was surprised I never thought of this item like that. It is so common and always there that I take this item for granted. What would I do without it? The whole world could potentially collapse. Well, maybe.
I called my friend, not caring my clock was flashing 3:10am. I knew the answer. “The greatest item is a chair!” I almost shouted my answer due to my elation, but barely held back. The answer was so easy. Without chairs, where would I sit comfortably or write stories and read books. How would I travel in cars or learn in schools? This simple invention revolutionized the world but is never remembered. Chairs exist all over from full luxurious thrones to hard painful rocks.
I will always remember the chair as the greatest invention, not because it is flashy or unique, but because without a chair, my feet would hurt from standing all day.