Holding the world togetherJust what is it that is holding the world together? Is it governments, religion, unions, fraternities, armies, the police and the mafia? Or is it Facebook and Twitter?
By: By Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Just what is it that is holding the world together? Is it governments, religion, unions, fraternities, armies, the police and the mafia? Or is it Facebook and Twitter?
According to today’s news headlines, 45 women and children were stabbed and burned to death in the Syrian city of Homsa, a champion swimmer drowned, another priest was suspended, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son was injured in a ski accident, wild boars invaded New York, and a recent study shows that someone falls down a stairs every six minutes.
So you could say that the world is in chaos, that it’s getting a little more chaotic every day and one has to wonder when it will totally self-destruct.
Many people thank heroes like Gandhi for stemming the tide toward total planetary annihilation, along with Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, maybe John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan and President Woodrow Wilson, who conceived of the United Nations and others.
Personally, I think we need to thank Richard Drew from St. Paul, Minn., because he has done more to hold the world together than anyone in the galaxy.
You see, Drew was a banjo-playing engineer who was hanging out at an auto body shop one day in 1925 when he heard a couple of auto painters uttering some colorful profanities after having a hard time making clean dividing lines on two-color paint jobs. This prompted Drew to go back to his office at 3M and invent the 2-inch wide tan paper tape that we now refer to as masking tape.
But that wasn’t his biggest accomplishment, which came later in 1930, when he invented something that nearly all of us use many times a month or year and especially around Christmas time and that is Scotch tape, the world’s first transparent adhesive tape.
And why is it called Scotch tape? Because, while Drew was testing his first masking tape to determine how much adhesive he needed to add, the body shop painters became frustrated with his sample of masking tape and said, “Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!” That name was soon given to 3M’s entire line of tapes.
Then again, maybe Peter Cooper, who is the first person to patent (his fish glue) in Britain around 1750, is the man who has held more of the world together than anyone else. Or maybe it was the guy from Egypt who invented bronze nails, which were found and dated back to 3400 BC, who has helped hold so much of the world together.
Maybe it’s Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, or Dr. Martin Cooper who invented the modern cellphone when he was the director of research and Development at Motorola in 1973. Or Howard Aiken, who invented the first electronic digital computer, called Mark I, in 1944 and now it’s the modern computer, with its ability to bring people together by the millions that is the real glue.
Then again, maybe it’s Lassie, Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason and Lucy, who made television so popular and propelled it to its current status as the great communicator and controller of so much of our personal time; a tool that brought people together by the millions for “Bonanza,” “MASH,” “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” “Two and a Half Men” and the Super Bowl.
At any rate, if you watched the nightly news in 1980 and again today, it is virtually the same programming; featuring war, a bad economy, starvation here and there, oil prices, murders and more drugs. Nothing has changed, only escalated. So as chaos reigns and multiplies, something must still be bonding this world together and keeping it from exploding and I think I know what it is: hugs.
That’s right, hugs are handshakes from the heart, the universal medicine, worth a thousand words, a bandage to a hurting wound, the shortest distance between two friends and lovers and hugs are like a boomerang, because you get them back right away.
Bill Keane, an American cartoonist most notable for his work on the long-running newspaper comic “The Family Circus” said, “They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.”
And Virginia Satir, the American author and psychotherapist said, “We need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.”
So you see, it’s those hugs that are holding the world together. That’s just a fact.
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.