News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 3, 2007


Things we find we canít live without

Have you ever noticed people keep inventing things we didnít know we needed and now we canít live without them?

Consider bottled water.

In 1968, the French revolutionized water as we know it by putting it in a plastic bottle and selling it. They launched the product, according to, with an advertising campaign emphasizing vitality for those who consumed it.

The idea exploded like a Dr. Pepper in a hot trunk.

Today, companies take tap water from one city, put it in a clear plastic bottle, ship it to another city and sell it.

Although we can get tap water from the kitchen sink for a few pennies a day, weíre willing to pay more than the price of gasoline for someone elseís tap water.

The ring tone is another thing that we didnít know we needed until it was invented.

I donít know the history behind the ring tone, but Iíll venture to guess that some budding
entrepreneur was sitting around dreaming
up ways to annoy the you-know-what out of people.

Instead of having a phone simply ring, he decided, wouldnít it be cool to have it startle everyone within hearing distance with loud, garbled music?

The practice of letting everyone in the room know that weíre jerks has become so popular that now we pay $3 a pop to do it.

Hey, in 1995, we didnít even know we needed cell phones. Now we canít live without them.

Cell phones, I believe, were invented by the father of the guy who brought us ring tones.

He must have stumbled across the fact that some people canít shut up. What if, he pondered, he could enable these people to intrude upon
other peopleís lives at any time of the day or night?

I wonder if he ever dreamed that both the caller and the recipient of the call would be dumb enough to pay for the same call? Itís an FCC injustice that we have to pay to talk to people who call us, especially when itís people to whom we donít want to talk.

Talk is not cheap.

Neither is text messaging.

By making it twice as hard to communicate, the inventor of text messaging learned that we were stupid enough to pay extra to type our talk.

And weíre willing to pay even more for a special ring tone so everyone in the room will know that weíre getting a secret text message.

The evolution of things-that-we-didnít-know-we-needed-but-wonít-be-able-to-live-without could someday lead to a talking bottle of water that both sends and receives text messages.

Ideally, it will let us know when weíre thirsty.

Scott Morris is managing editor of The Daily.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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