To the Editor:

It is a beautiful winter day.

Waking up with the help of an alarm clock, I flip a switch to magically brighten the dark room thanks to electricity delivered along miles of wire from distant power plants at the speed of light.

Another button turns on the television for the morning news, along with the weather prediction. It is six degrees below zero outdoors. But inside my house, it’s 60 above thanks to the controlled combustion of explosive propane in my boiler and the blazing firewood in my stove.

Getting out of bed, I turn the thermostat up to 70 and put some more wood in the fire. In the kitchen, I push another button to brew fresh Colombian coffee. It smells delicious.

Bathroom faucets deliver clean, fresh water piped in from the well, cold for the toothbrush and hot for the shave and shower. Waste water disappears down the drains and is filtered in the septic system without polluting my neighbor’s well.

The chemistry set in the medicine cabinet helps keep me alive.

A slice of bread (made from Midwestern grain, baked at Pepperidge Farm, and kept fresh in a plastic bag) goes into an electric toaster and pops up hot. I cover it with peanut butter from the South and jelly from the North. Cream from a Maine dairy farm and chocolate from an equatorial cocoa plantation sweeten my coffee, and I’m ready for the road.

Good shoes and a warm coat protect me from the cold. Incredibly, this year’s gloves have touch-screen fingertips so I can use my smartphone without taking off my gloves. Wow!

Turning a key, the engine roars to life, even though it is subzero cold. Idling at 1,500 rpm, it spins in a blur – rotating 25 times per second.

During each rotation, eight pistons and 24 valves move in harmony with the fuel injectors and spark plugs to create precise explosions at the perfect moments. Metal that was frozen is now heating up toward its melting point. Oil and coolant protect the engine from overheating, while the exterior thermometer reminds me that it is still sub-zero on the other side of the car door. Thousands of components blend together in a technical symphony to move the wheels and the windshield wipers, while I enjoy the cabin heat and listen to the radio on my drive to work.

Counting my blessings, I smile and enjoy the scenery.

Certainly I have problems, but they are minor compared to those of people elsewhere who are freezing, starving and suffering. So I try not to complain about the small stuff.

Let’s do what we can to help others and be thankful for our amazing world.


Bruce Munger

MDI High teacher



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