Patsy Porco

The Next Best Thing

In Humor on July 24, 2013 at 12:31 am

When I was a kid, and eavesdropping on adult conversations, whenever a new invention or product–anything from felt-tip pens to birth control pills–was discussed, an adult never failed to pipe up, “It’s the next best thing to sliced bread.” Then my father or some other man–never a woman–would say, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will come aknocking.” I’m not sure that the word that was used was actually “aknocking,” but that’s how I remember it.

I was thinking about that today as I cleaned my entire bathroom with disinfecting wipes. They are a brilliant invention and make a mockery of other cleaning products. A mockery, I say. I still squirt toilet cleaner into my toilet because I don’t want to stick my hand in there with a wipe, but other than toilet cleaner, I don’t need anything else besides wipes. They’re the next best thing to sliced bread, I suppose.

I’m not really sure about the accuracy of my comparison, however, because by the time I was born, sliced bread was readily available and not much on the minds of people who bought their bread at the Acme. It was always called “the” Acme by everyone I knew except for my grandfather, Popeye, who called it “the Ac-a-me.”

I can appreciate the invention of sliced bread, though. Before then, it must have been a hassle to have to cut up every loaf of bread you ever bought.  It was probably also a messy job, what with crumbs flying everywhere.

The crumbs would explain the worldwide desire for a better mousetrap. Now I understand the rush to invent the best one, and why all of humanity was lined up and ready to come aknocking.

  1. I probably ogled you on the boardwalk at Rehoboth back then. I usually ate at Grotto’s Pizza which is still there so I hear. I should probably buy some wipes too, now that you mention it.

    • Were you the guy that I tried to attract by running my kite in circles around his kite until they were hopelessly tangled, and he was angrier than the situation called for?

      • I would have been flattered by the attention and not angry, so it wasn’t me. Untangling them would have been like a game of Twister. At least in my fantasy world.

  2. Growing up in Delaware I know all about “the Ac-a-me”. People here in the Midwest just look at me funny when I speak of such things.

    • Jono, I grew up in Philadelphia, so you and I speak the same lingo. Did you ever go to Pappy’s? It was a pizza place that had the slogan, “Pappy will make you Happy.” We went every summer on our way home from Rehobeth Beach, where we vacationed for a number of years.

  3. That’s why I blog.

  4. Your post reminded me that I have to buy some disinfecting wipes on the way home! Thanks!

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