When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was Motel of Mysteries by David Macaulay. The book examines the year 1985 through the archeological dig of a motel room in a long lost country known as Usa. The book is written in 4022 so the leading scientist can only guess as to the intended purpose of the items inside.

The book always stayed with me, especially as I got older and common day things became relics right before my eyes. For example, I would ask people for a “Church Key” and, to my horror, I discovered that people had no idea what that was.

Do you have a Church Key? How can you not have a Church Key in your house? How do you drink your Hawaiian Punch?


“Ohhhhh… a church key”

People simply didn’t need Church Keys anymore. They had can openers. And electric can openers. And cans that were made to open without a can opener or a church key. I thought that was cool, but just a little sad too.

But almost instantly, my thoughts would go back to The Motel of Mysteries and I would think about those poor people in 4022 who had no idea what a toilet seat was for or what the A/B box on top of the television would do.

Do you remember something from your past that’s no longer around? We joke about Pong but even kids today know about Pong. Go a little deeper. What do you remember that no one else does? And what will the fish of the future wonder about?