There is one tool that is more important than all others. And you can find it in any hardware store.
I’m lucky in that my hardware store dates from the mid-1800s. It should be a national historic landmark. One of these days it will be, if it doesn’t turn into a restaurant first.
Back to the tool.
This tool wasn’t so much invented. It was discovered.
As you move among the many things you can get in our hardware store, you’ll probably miss the boxes of matches.
That’s the tool.
The tool is fire. Not just any fire, but fire on command.
If you’re putting a tool box together for yourself, or for a friend going off to college, make sure you include matches.
Fire on Command gave us the ability to cook food, ward off the night, and ward off predators.
Fire on Command gave us the incentive to create families.
Families started learning to cook, store food for long periods, live off the local land, and finally how to farm.
Fire on Command gave those families a reason to start forming tribes.
Not just any tribes, but tribes that would stay together for generations. Tribes that would work together to gather metal ores, fashion them into better tools, and work together to keep their enemies away. Those tribes also started customs they followed to make living together easier.
Fire on Command gave those tribes a reason to start forming a nation. The nation created armies that defended all the tribes. The customs became laws. The smelting of ores became chemistry and physics. The nations improved to have internal combustion, nuclear power, rocket ships and mobile phones.
Thanks to Fire, Fire on Command.
So, the next time you wander the hardware store, pay your respects to the fire. It’s the reason everything else exists.