20 things Americans can't live without

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10 American essentialsU.S. News and World Report recently listed 10 things that Americans just can't do without, ranging from laptops to lattes. This caused me to think about what I would be loathe to give up. While I can't quibble with most of the magazine's selections (below), there are at least 10 other strong candidates for 21st century essentials, in my opinion.

My candidates for the top 10 must-haves are:


  1. Electric garage door opener: When I was a boy, my dad had an early version of the garage door opener; me. He'd lay on the horn until I came out and lifted the door. Now is better.
  2. The automobile: Yes, this is Bike to Work Week, but that's only because having it in February would only reinforce how much we cherish our precious four-wheeled transportation.
  3. Hot Pockets: Imagine living back in the dark ages where juices could escape from between the bread slices of a sandwich.
  4. Electricity: Last year, power in our neighborhood went out for three days. Three days without NCIS, without cold beer, without Facebook, without an electric garage door opener, telephone charger...how many Americans would be down with that?
  5. Credit: Look at the original 10 items below. How many would you be able to enjoy if you weren't extended credit, if only the credit of being permitted to pay monthly and after the fact?
  6. Remote controls: for my TV, DVD, Blu-Ray, stereo, lights, car ignition, fans and more, these remote controls move me even closer to my goal of total entropy.
  7. Air-conditioning: America smells a great deal fresher than it did in 1960, and we can thank air-conditioners (although Febreze would like to take the credit.) You can take mine when you pry my cold, dead fingers from the A/C knob.
  8. Baseball: For those who feel that life is passing by all too quickly, a baseball game will demonstrate that even a mere two hours can be made to seem like an eternity.
  9. Plumbing: Truthfully, now: which would you give up first, a smart phone or a flushing toilet? If the former, I hope we don't live in the same neighborhood.
  10. Go-cups: If only one American crotch is saved from a hot-coffee shower, the go-cup will have earned its place in grab-and-go heaven.
Compare those with the original U.S. News and World Report ten things we couldn't do without (and my comments):
  1. Portable computers: If we didn't have these, we'd have to TALK to other people at Starbucks.
  2. High-speed Internet access: Because nothing sucks like waiting for porn to load.
  3. Smart phones: Don't you feel at least a little uneasy carrying a phone that's smarter than you are?
  4. Education: Without which, you might have trouble finding a job. Oh, you have a degree and still, no job? Just debt?
  5. Movies: Because with comic books you have to go through the labor of turning pages.
  6. TV: Without TV, who would tell the Fox nation who to despise?
  7. Music downloads: Paying for tunes is SO 20th century.
  8. Pets: With a declining birthrate, the U.S. needs another dependable source for cute. I searched "Kitty" on YouTube; 104,000 videos available.
  9. Booze: To make 2, 3, 5, and 6 more amusing, and 4 more tolerable.
  10. Coffee: Because crack is so declassé.
Got some things you can't live without? Let us know what's on your list here or @walletpopper or our Facebook page.
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