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5 Mysteries of the Modern World

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This is an amazing time to be a middle-aged list maker. Around every corner, there are wondrous, vexing, inexplicable things to be seen. And I don’t understand them even a little bit.



My phone rang the other day and when I answered it, I was staring into the eyes of the sweetest 2-year-old you can imagine. She proceeded to show me a series of items around her living room and tell me details of her very momentous day. And this was normal, to be able to see each other as we talked on the phone. I’m sorry, but how are we not jumping up and down and slapping our heads in wonder at the fact that our iPhones are superior to Captain Kirk’s communicator? I don’t have a clue how the thing works, either. Do you?



Sure, I could rattle off some of the reasons why the dreaded “Check Engine” light comes on, things such as faulty oxygen sensors and cracked gas caps, but I’d be kidding myself. For me, the Check Engine light has a mystical, almost religious connotation. You know how some mathematicians say they experience God by calculating pi? That’s how I feel about the Check Engine light. Sometimes it goes all Old Testament on me, coming on just to show me who’s boss; other times, it’s more New Testament, going off just long enough for me to pass emissions. It’s unknowable.



Hello, people from 1943. Sit down for this, it’s a doozy. Far in the future, folks are going to walk into their local movie theater and pay – get this – $6 and $7 for about a dime’s worth of popcorn! They won’t even get any butter for it. The kid at the concession counter will pour a bit of oily, greasy glop on it. What’s that you say? Yes. Betty Grable did have nice gams.



The technology gods give and they take away. That’s what I’ve come to understand. Thanks to the Cloud, my wife and I can’t seem to get rid of the song “Beer Barrel Polka,” that we downloaded for my dad some years back. Every time we think we’ve deleted it, it finds a way to come back. On the flipside, that amazing essay full of insights into the human condition I jotted down a couple of weeks ago? Gone forever.



How is it possible I’ve been able to live this long without Golden Oreos? True, there have been other vanilla cookies filled with creme, but they didn’t have the distinctive look and mojo of an Oreo. And that’s the mystery. How can a cookie be this bewitching?

I’ll bet you have a few modern mysteries in your life, too. Go ahead. Add to The List!