Moment of Zen – People Driving Cars

On average, every single day a human being driving a vehicle crashes into a 7-Eleven in the US.

As of the time of writing this, there are 9,449 7-Elevens in the United States, which means in less than 26 years, if we are careful and strategic, we could make sure that every 7-Eleven has been taken out by an automobile.

Of course, people are often busy crashing their cars into other storefronts as well. According to the Storefront Safety Council, an entity whose very existence tells us there is something systemically wrong with the world that we are powerless to fix, over a hundred drivers crash into storefronts nationwide every single day. Americans love ramming their Chevys into Dollar Generals, careening their CRVs into Starbucks, and mushing their Teslas into the local Kum and Go.

People are inherently bad at driving. If you think you are good at driving, I applaud your confidence. A population can’t claim to have mastered something if statistically they whoopsie-doodle into the broad side of a Pottery Barn, or buy the farm through a Farmers Market on the way to the Cracker Barrel. You are in a two-ton vehicle that is burning 20 billion ancient dead plants for every inch that it travels, rolling over roads made out of more of those dead plants, through cities and towns that were designed for horses (although not very well designed for horses, as the life expectancy of a city horse was only a couple years). You obviously don’t have control over the situation and probably shouldn’t be involved.

You know what? I think I gave cars enough of the business for one zen, so while we are on the subject, let’s talk about horses.

Personally, I am afraid of horses. I don’t trust them. Nothing should have teeth like that. But enough about me, let’s zen something weird about horses!

Have you ever noticed that a lot of houses throughout older towns and cities have raised front porches? This is because of our reliance of horses way back in the day, before the car came along to take their jobs.

We were really bad at taking care of horses in the second half of the 1800s (although I’d imagine we weren’t much better during the first half of the 1800s). Humans would ride horses around, make them pull stuff, and generally overwork them. On top of that, we weren’t very good about cleaning up after horses.

You know what else we weren’t good at? Drainage.

When it would rain, the streets would flood, sending a deluge of manure and horse carcasses (oh, did I mention that when a horse stopped working, people would sometimes leave it on the side of the road the same way they would a car today?) through the town.

This actually stymied the connection between smoking and respiratory illnesses, because between working in horrible industrial and mining conditions, hazardous building materials, and the occasional equine excreta estuary, most everyone was coughing all the time anyway.

Fortunately, one of history’s greatest monsters and inventor of the 5-day workweek, Henry Ford, helped popularize the automobile and generally made the horse obsolete.

Henry Ford is also why we all had to do square dancing in school, but I’ll save that for another zen.



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