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Dr. Kestner: A Tribute to Creatively Lazy People

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This column came about as a result of a discussion I had with my seventeen-year-old stepson, Anthony. We were debating which of us is the laziest. It was not a name calling contest. Each of us was claiming to be lazier than the other!

I admitted I was beat when he told me of a day he and his friend Dylan were hanging out last summer and spotted a cold soft drink across the room. They both wanted a drink but were too lazy to get up to get it. (See why I lost?)

To their credit, they utilized a nearby package of “bendy straws” to satisfy their thirst. They patiently attached enough straws end-to-end to arc across the room to reach the soft drink can.

“You were able to reach the can?” I exclaimed in surprise. “Were you able to maneuver the straw into the can?”

“We drank it dry,” he grinned.

I tipped my hat to Anthony and Dylan and admitted that I was among some true masters of laziness. Dylan claims that he once convinced his mother that he didn’t have to attend school that day because it was “National Laziness Day”. I haven’t confirmed that story, yet.

Although laziness is not revered in our society, perhaps it should be treated with more appreciation. Many inventions that make our lives more convenient today were originally conceived in the mind of a lazy person.

Even going back to the invention of the wheel we are indebted to the creativeness of truly lazy people. Millennia ago some lazy cave dweller got tired of dragging things around and decided to put a log under the load.

Indoor plumbing came about because someone was too lazy to go to the outhouse or carry water from a stream.

Washing machines are the result of someone that was lazy enough to resent wrestling heavy, wet clothes through a manual wringer machine. Even the wringer washer was a lazy person’s answer to using a wash board.

An automobile was a lazy person’s way to avoid hooking up a team of horses to a wagon.
Building the automobile was just the first step in a long tradition of auto inventions that were imagined by lazy people. Instead of getting out to hand crank the engine a lazy person invented an electric starter. Later some lazy soul grew tired of constantly having to press the accelerator to keep the car going, and cruise control was created. There was once a time that you actually had to pull a knob to activate your headlights. Thankfully we are saved from that task because a lazy inventor thought of automatic headlights.

Perhaps the ultimate due we owe the lazy inventor is appreciation for the remote control. My wife says that I have a remote control for everything. She is not correct, but she’s close. I have to admit having a remote for the TV, DVD, ceiling fan, room air filter, radio, video camera, and probably several other devices. I have been tempted to install remote controllable window shades. I was thrilled to receive a remote control starter for my truck for Christmas.

As much as I appreciate the wonders that we enjoy today as a result of other’s unabashed laziness, I look forward to the creations that future generations of lazy inventors will produce. There must certainly be answers to some of the tedious and tiresome tasks that we lazy people still must contend with.

Will there be “interface caps” we put on to create words on a computer screen so that we don’t have to actually type or speak? What about cars so automatic we simply have a seat and tell them where we want to go? Current washers and dryers are handy, but wouldn’t it be great if we had a machine that accepted dirty clothes in one end, and produced clean, dry and folded clothes at the other?

I’m glad to know that the art of being lazy is not lost. Thankfully there will be creatively lazy people like Anthony and Dylan to lead the way to an even more effortless life for generations to come.

Dr. Mark Kestner
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