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Planes are pretty neat, huh? We walk into a long metal tube and in a few hours we walk out into another world. It’s a miracle.

I’m flying to India soon for my annual break from running Home Defenders, and I’ve been thinking about planes. But, they’re not the only modern miracles I reflect on …. 


Plumbing — We turn the tap and water comes out. What’s so great about that? Everything.

Modern plumbing amazes me. Massive volumes of water have to be collected, stored and pumped up mountains, under streets and into our homes. Every sink, toilet, and bathtub needs shutoff valves and hoses that are under enormous pressure. Hundreds of little things could go wrong, or big things, like earthquakes.

What amazes me most is that there’s no central authority running the show. Water companies manage the pipes under the street, but the system also depends on homeowners, plumbers, handymen, and do-it-yourselfers. We’re like a giant colony of bees that keeps a mammoth nest humming, with each bee doing their part.

Modern plumbing is the human brain at its most brilliant and practical.

Freeways — Wait, hear me out. Sure, the Southern California freeways are notoriously jammed, but I drove to Santa Monica last weekend and only encountered two minor accidents. That is phenomenally amazing!

I passed tens of thousands of drivers. Some were teenagers, others elderly, some were undoubtedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs, most were licensed, some surely unlicensed, most were competent, others not. Yet only two accidents? Why not a thousand? Two thousand?

If you went back a hundred years and described a modern freeway to people, most would shake their head and say, “You’re off your rocker.” Remember that the next time you’re a stuck in traffic.

I’m awed by so many aspects of Southern California life I could even consider canceling my vacation to India just to stay here and appreciate it all.

But not quite.

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