Shouldn’t technology make our lives easier?

Have you noticed that lately technology seems to make our lives more complicated?

That’s not what it’s for, is it? I mean, shouldn’t science be helping us to accomplish things with less work?

I’m sure there are many things I can point to. Take trying to watch television. You used to pull a knob, the television would heat up, then you’d have one or two dials, one for UHF, one for VHF, and you’d just turn it to a channel. Now, with the advent of cable, satellite, and now HDTV converters, no one can just turn on a TV. You have to go through a series of rituals until you finally get to watch a local channel.

Phones are another case. You used to just pick it up and talk if it rang. Now some cellphones have so many features, actually having a conversation is lost amidst all the buttons and apps and other features.

But my point is shaving. At one point, you had a blade, that you drew across your face, and you’d be shaven. Now I’m not even talking about electric shavers here, I’m talking about blades. After the safety blade, they introduced the injector. Then the disposable. Then the Trak II. Two blades! Because of course, 2 is better than one.

I remember seeing, in 1975, on Saturday Night Live, a parody of the Trak II. They made fun of it by making a razor with THREE blades! Three! At the time, it was hysterical. Who would buy a razor with 3 blades? Why did we need that many?

Well, guess what? We’ve gone way past three blades. Now we have razors with 4 and 5 blades.

And do they shave any closer than the old single blade did?

No. Not at all. And that’s because the blade is so fat now, it can’t get at those hard to reach places, the ones under your nose. It just doesn’t fit there. Sure, your cheeks are clean, but now you have this stubble under your nose.

And I got fed up. And I found, in the basement of my mother’s, my old single blade GEM razor. One blade. Thin. Easy to use. And amazingly, with a fresh razor, it shaves as well as any five bladed razor ever did. Part of me wonders if they don’t just put cheaper, duller blades in the 5 blade razors. Planned obsolescence. The quicker they dull, the sooner you have to buy a replacement.

But this GEM, pictured below, shaves as well as any blade I’ve ever used and better than the Schick or Gillette multi-bladed razors ever did. And the replacements are cheaper, 10 blades for $5. Try to get a replacement blade for those disposable things for $5. And no more nose stubble.

GEM razor with single-sided blade

As the Saturday Night Live commercial said, “the track three, because you’ll believe anything.”

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