Archive for February 28th, 2023

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #23- Gadgets and Gizmos

A gadget, AKA gizmo, is defined by Dictionary.com as a “mechanical contrivance or device; any ingenious article.”  Ingenious seems to be the key word for making us happy. 

A quick on-line search found just about as many articles about how technology and gadgets can make someone unhappy as there were for the happiness camp.  I submit that if you view a gadget just as a tool to get something done, happiness might not even be considered in the equation.  But, if a device is ingenious, the wonder and awe of it and its inventor can be euphoric.  That’s why so many tool sheds and kitchens are filled with gizmos and weird tools that may never be used.  Before I became a full-time RVer, I was a member of that club.  However, there’s just no room in my fifth wheel for gadgets I won’t ever use.

For myself, I keep a plastic miter box in my truck’s tool cabinet because I never know when I might need to cut a piece of trim.  I have actually used it three times in the two years we’ve been on the road.  My other gadget pleasure is a tube of bungee straps of every size and shape.  Interestingly, there are specialty straps made for specific tie-down solutions, such as for use with grommets in tarps and screens, with tent pegs and for multi-girth items.  I love using them.

Gadgets have always intrigued movie-goers and TV fans, and Hollywood hasn’t disappointed.  Inspector Gadget, an animated series that began in 1983 and a 1999 movie, was a cyborg human with various bionic gadgets built into his body, though they often malfunctioned. 

The polar opposite would have to be James Bond, who was given neat new gizmos by “Q” during each movie in the franchise, which nearly always proved to be useful or life-saving as the plot developed.  The first Bond gadget was a Geiger counter, and that evolved to several versions of his briefcase, a phone-tap detector, a dagger-tipped shoe, a garrote wire and a laser cutting watch, homing beacons and pills, a miniature SCUBA set, in-air and underwater jetpacks, mini-rocket and cyanide cigarettes, cigarette guns, and so many more. It just wouldn’t have been a 007 movie without them.

Science fiction has always had to develop new gadgets as visions of life in the future, such as the automatic doors in Star Trek, paper computers in Mission Impossible, spy contact lenses in I Spy, flying cars in Blade Runner/Fifth Element/hundreds of others, the neuralizer in Men in Black, Back to the Future’s hoverboard, and the ultimate gadget- the Star Wars lightsaber.  I wouldn’t mind having a few of these…

Innovation is almost always appreciated, but innovative gadgets always make you happy.


As usual, I’ll end this piece with a quote, this time from American writer Roger Zelazny:  “I have a fondness for technology. It’s great to spend hours puttering around with mechanical things gotten from junkyards and visualizing what their use might be. Especially if you come across a gadget or tool and you don’t know what it is and you try to figure it out. I’m fascinated by processes, whatever they might be.

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