Standing the test of time

My son stops halfway up our stairs and then turns to come back downstairs. He thanks us for letting him have his friends over for a late-night chat about music. He lets out a big yawn and comes over to my wife and I and gives us a big hug. 

His hug never gets old. It has stood the test of time. 

I wish there were more things like his hug. Unfortunately, there aren’t. Most things fall apart well before they should. I watch him leave to go back upstairs and find myself starting in my head a list of things that have stood the test of time. I see a shot of the Niagara Falls in an ad on TV and quickly add it to my list. They never seem to lose their mystery.

Here’s a few things that have have stood up well over time:

  • National Parks. In 2020, the National Park Service received 237 million recreation visits. Before the pandemic in 2019, the National Park System exceeded more than 327.5 million visitors, the third highest since record keeping began in 1904
  • Books. The cassette replaced the record; the CD replaced the cassette, and the streaming music replaced the CD, but the book has stood the test of time.
  • Wedding and Funeral business. Yes, yes, almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce in the U.S. It’s a figure we’ve all heard before, but it’s still a big time business. Now that’s the bad news, here’s the good news: according to the U.S. Censure every year in the U.S. there are about 2.02 million marriages in the U.S. That’s not all. The U.S funeral market is currently estimated to be worth around $20 billion annually, with 2.4 million funerals taking place each year. Now that’s saying something.
  • The pencil.
  • Cars. When I was a kid, I remember our cars not lasting long. We’d keep them running as long as we could, but they inevitably would leave us stranded. Compare that to my last car. The car lasted ten years and had close to 200,000 miles on it.

Instead, most things start to fall apart well before their time. Remember when television and refrigerators lasted for decades, not just a few years. Here’s a few things that have failed to stand up to the test of time. They’re the equivalent of President William Henry Harrison, who served a mere 32 days in office, before he died. These items didn’t last and need to go.

  • Daylight savings time. Oh, Benjamin Franklin had the right idea creating Daylight Savings. I’m sure it was a God-send for farmers back in the day, but now it’s a killer for suburbanites like myself.
  • Vegetables. Yuck.
  • Politicians who serve endless terms. Where’s term limits when you need them.
  • Cell phones. Need I say more.
  • Vacations. They always end too soon! They always need to be longer.

These are few long and short lasting items, but I have to say: nothing stands up to my son’s hug. It doesn’t come around much, but when it does, it’s the best thing in the world.

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