We are, aren't we?
We come up with the most amazing little problem-solving gadgets.
Do you recognize this one?
I came across this picture of this common object from my youth and realized my life has entered history.
How would an archaeologist in 300 years know what this object was?
It is a "spider" or a "spacer", a doohickey inserted in the wide center of a 45 record so it will fit on the narrow spindle of a 33 1/3 rpm record player.
Thomas Hutchinson invented it for RCA in the 1960s, and people bought millions of them every year.
It looks space agey, doesn't it?
Without corroborative evidence, a future archaeologist might guess it was a Star Trek insignia.
Or an IUD birth control device.
I went looking for a photo of an IUD to compare and found these IUDs (left), from the early 1900s. (From the Midwifery Fact File.)
The shaft goes into the uterus, with the button outside the cervix.
I had no idea these existed this early, but people aren't dumb. (Well, not about everything.)
These remind me of advice an old Southern woman gave me in 1978 on the neutering of cats.
I worked with this homespun woman in the cafteria of the student union in Madison, and she scoffed when I told her how much I'd paid to get my cats fixed.
Waste of money, she said:
"For a girl cat, just stick a few BB's inside her.
For a boy cat, wrap a rubber band tightly around his balls, and they'll drop off after a while."
I've been thinking a lot about material culture, looking for simple things to illustrate what life was like in colonial times.
Here's a good one:
George Washington's militia in 1754 ate up most of their food. All they had left was parched corn.
I had no idea what parched corn is, so I looked it up.
Basically, it's Corn Nuts--dried corn heated until it puffs a little bit.
Looking for info led me to all sorts of survivalist sites. Some of them are created by jolly, helpful, clever monkey folk.
Some of them by freaky cannibalistic folk.
Anyway, seems that after the Big One, humans will fall back on Corn Nuts. And homemade birth control, no doubt.
iPods are out, of course, but I bet we could hook our record players up to a bicycle-driven generator and listen to our 45s. If we could find a spider.