Life hacks. Those simple tricks and strategies that help us move through life just a little bit easier and more efficiently. It’s hard to avoid the sea of life hacks as we wade through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube videos.
Don’t get me wrong, some of these life hacks are pretty impressive and simple, and if neither of those, at least entertaining. I’ve learned that one can use a dustpan to help fill a bucket too big for the sink (although I don’t know about the state of your dustpan) or put pancake mix in a cleaned-out ketchup bottle to make for easier dispensing. There’s the “hack” of determining the doneness of spaghetti by throwing it against the ceiling. If it sticks, it’s done. Although, to be fair, that one’s been around for quite some time now. I’d love to know the life hack for getting stuck spaghetti off your walls, but there’s been no follow up on that to date.
There’s the classic “hack” of fixing a split flipflop with a bread tag (I learned that one on a beach years ago), using ice to remove gum (would’ve been useful info back in junior high), adding lime in boiling egg water to make shells easier to remove, or a hair tie to expand the waistline of your jeans. I’m telling you, the hacks are endless.
Did you all know that Doritos make good kindling? That one is decidedly disturbing, especially considering how many Doritos are ingested by us as a country. Coca Cola is great for cleaning mucked up showers. WTF? Oh, hey! Maybe it will work on spaghetti walls. Did you know that ramen makes a great DIY filler for most projects? Who needs wood paste or spackle when you have a handy dandy packet of ramen lying around.
It seems everyone has a life hack for something. But do they? Do they really? Sometimes I think what people call a life hack is more like “that’s just how it’s done.” Since when is folding clothes a life hack? In a long list of these tips, I saw one that explained how to more easily mulch a garden. The hack was simply using a bucket to transfer the mulch from the wheelbarrow to the plants. Seriously?
One video explained the “hack” of measuring for a bra. It’s labeled as a new and improved trick for finding the perfect fit when the person just describes how you’re supposed to measure for a bra.
It’s easy to find the humor in these videos, and sometimes I do find it funny that things are called a hack when they’re not really a hack. But when I really think about it, it’s also sad that whole generations don’t know it isn’t a hack. We’ve taken away life skills from our young people and then accuse them of laziness and ignorance. For so many years now, we’ve put so much emphasis on becoming specialized professionals that we’ve forgotten to teach the simple skills that can help everyone be more successful in life, not just a career.
So, when someone sees it done for the first time or they figure it out on their own, they think they’ve discovered something new. Oh, I’m not criticizing these young people. It’s not their fault. We can’t blame them for not knowing something they don’t know. No one is teaching them these things to begin with. They’re left to figure it out on their own.
At one time, we had home economics in school. All kids had to take it, and it taught things like sewing a button, cooking a meal, washing laundry, and balancing a checkbook. Life skills, not life hacks.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go back to the good old days. They weren’t all that good for a whole bunch of people. But maybe we should go back to offering life skills classes in school. Something.
In the meantime, YouTube and TikTok are a veritable feast of how-to’s, and I’m glad that young people can Google to figure things out, because the adults of the world certainly aren’t helping them out.