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Holten: We only think we are ahead of our time

In modern times, we tend to think that we’re pretty cool and on top of things. But in reality we’re mostly just repeating what has already been done in the past.

Oh sure, we’ve got that space travel thing going for us. But really, where has that gotten us? At least explorers in the past, like Charles Lindbergh or Christopher Columbus, actually got somewhere. Where are we getting?

Our space travel consists mainly of circling the globe with a bunch of Russians and putting junk up there to use to spy on things we already know exists down here. That’s like Mr. Columbus discovering the Americas and then building a big tower in Virginia to stand on to see if he can spy on things going on back in Spain or France.

Tattoos are something that we seem to think are pretty cool these days. But then again, even prehistoric man did tattooing.

And then there’s all of the makeup that people use to create a beautiful look. The makeup industry will soon be a $265 billion dollar industry and yet, people have been painting their faces for at least 6,000 years in almost every society on earth.

No, the coolest and greatest things on Earth are those that don’t necessarily pop out at you, make a grand entrance or have a lot of pre-promotion. That’s because the coolest things on Earth are simply too cool for that.

For example, the coolest things are the best things in life … like sleeping in your own bed after a long trip, suddenly finding something you’d lost a long time ago and had given up looking for, playing air guitar, learning how to ride a bike and then whipping down a hill after pedaling for a long time.

It’s kicking clumps of frozen slush off the back of your mud flaps, the sound you hear when you drop a steak on a hot grill, hilarious Halloween costumes or getting a phone call from someone your were just thinking about.

It’s a plane when it speeds up on a runway, a long weekend, going from a rough road to a smooth one, fitting everything in the dishwasher, being in the fastest lane in a traffic jam, hearing those tiny things go through the hose of your vacuum cleaner and watching lightning during a good thunderstorm.

It is also when the person scratching your back finds that really itchy spot, when a song you love comes on the radio, the middle part of a slice of fresh bread, listening to your favorite song over and over again, and a long hug when you really need it.

Or it’s dropping your cellphone on the sidewalk and realizing it’s OK, hanging out with your mom or dad, that moment during your vacation when you forget what day it is, and picking the glue off of the back of your new credit card.

Lifting something that turns out to be a lot lighter than you expected, the clicking sound a toy makes when you wind it up, napping with someone you love, when a baby falls asleep on your chest, dancing when you’re home alone, and when you learn a new word and then start seeing it everywhere.

Or it’s the night before a really big day, peeing after holding it forever, listening to stories about how couples met, a really good long shower, giant morning stretches, and laughing so hard you start crying.

It’s when you open a book to the exact page you were looking for, elementary school science fairs, watching a movie at home with friends, staying in your pajamas all day, making a paper airplane, and putting on your favorite pair of jeans.

Plus, it’s eating ice cream off the lid of its carton, looking at the clock and seeing that you have more time to sleep, and drawing on steamy mirrors or frosty windows with your fingers.

Tossing garbage in the trash can from far away, making the first footprint in fresh snow, hearing the sound of snow crunch under your boots, when your windshield wipers match the beat of the song you’re listening to, plugging in the Christmas lights from last year and seeing them all work, and a million other things like that.

In other words, it’s all about stumbling upon the little things in life that make you happy.

Holten is the manager of The Drill and the

executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Email him at