Go fly a kite!

Way back in 1752, when Benjamin Franklin tied a key to a kite string and discovered electricity, little did he know how his modest experiment would change the world.  It’s only been 268 years (a mere a pimple on the ass of time) since that eventful day, yet we can’t begin to imagine how different life would be without the benefit of that source of energy.

But let’s try.

Let’s start with getting out of bed in the morning, something the majority of us take for granted.  If you’re young and still a member of the work force, you do it at exactly the same time each day, thanks to an alarm clock—powered by electricity.  But, without electricity you’d have to rely upon a mechanical alarm clock.  And what if you forgot to wind it?  You’d have to wait for the sun, or the rooster next door, to wake you.  Then, you’d strike a match, light a candle, and off you’d go to greet the day.

There’d probably be no morning shower, of course, because you would’t have time to get a fire started to heat the kettle or two of water necessary for that little convenience.  No electric water heater, of course.  But, if you’re a man with an average supply of testosterone, you’d probably want to shave.  Most of you use an electric razor.  Oh, sure, you might resort to shaving cream and a blade once or twice a month, but it’s the vibrating head that gets the job done mostly.  Okay, you’d skip the shave.

No surprise, you’d be hungry.  So you’re not a big breakfast guy (or gal)?  Fine, just a cup of java and a slice of toast will do to get you on your way to work.  Oops, without electricity there’d be no Keurig machine, so you’d have to boil the water on the gas range to power your percolator, and you’d have to toast the bread in the gas oven.  But how would you light the gas?  Without an electric spark, you’d have to get out a box of matches to get those flames burning.

There’d be no battery to help start your car’s engine, so you’d have to get it running by turning the hand crank.  Oh, wait, there’d be no car either, because there’d be no electrical spark to ignite the fuel to power the engine.  You’d probably have to ride a horse, or use a horse-powered buggy, to get to work.  And to think, you haven’t even left the property yet.  See what I mean?  I think you’ll have admit that things would be pretty bleak without electricity’s contribution to our way of life.

So, the next time you want to tell someone to “go fly a kite,” you might want to bite your tongue and reconsider your choice of words.  Instead, think of some other clever thing to say.  After all, we do owe an awful lot to flying a kite.  Eh, Ben?

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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14 Responses to Go fly a kite!

  1. delphini510 says:

    You have me quite amused here and it is true how dependent the western cultures in particular have become on electricity. I smile though that it is not far back that people coped with fire for cooking, heating and warming water … maybe for a shave.😊. However, more men used to have a beard.
    When gas hobs and oven finally came they were lit with matches at first. Now of course there is a button to press.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, indeed. We sure do have short memories. We are very fortunate to be living now, rather than back then. 🙂


  3. Bill Ramsey says:

    Having never experienced life as it was then, this essay may look to the young like a lesson in ancient history. We know better as at least some of these were true within our lifetimes. I really enjoy reflecting on how far we have come.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Delightful, Joe! 🙂 Must share…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. balroop2013 says:

    So true Joe! Thanks for highlighting the blessings people never count and whine about useless things! 🙂 I’ve seen people living without electricity though…a hard life!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KiM says:

    Any cat parent doesn’t need a wake up alarm 🙂 I can say I don’t love it when our power goes off but I’d mind even more if all my books where on a reader. Our biggest issue is we’re on a well so we don’t have water either. Although one of our cats has jumped into the tub filled with water in case we lost power. Good thing we hadn’t yet because he was soaked and needed heat and the blow dryer. My SIL who is a cook was saying how much she wished she had a gas stove so she could still cook when she lost power. Well, being the non-cook that I am… I’m not sure that’s a plus.


    • That little “water thing” would sure be an issue then, today, or anytime. We’ve lived in a community that had a shared well, and whenever we’d have a power outage we’d truly appreciate how important it was to have electricity. 🙂


  7. I'd tell you who I am, but will be have to remain "anonymous" (lol) ...refer to my comment. says:

    I’d comment on your post, but our carrier pigeon has not yet returned home…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bruce Pfeffer says:

    Thanks for your insight Joe, and thanks to all of the people who added their thoughtful comments. We certainly enjoy the benefits of electric living, but let’s not discount the possibilities of American Engineering. Is it so hard to imagine the improvements that could have been made in two hundred years? Steam powered cars even Diesel engines operate without electricity. Airships and balloons. Heat and hot water provided by wood or coal. And the byproduct: smoke used to communicate. Breeding fireflies for lighting. See, not so bad, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

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