Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

This Is Horseshit

The symbol of 19th century New York wasn’t the yellow cab, but the stinky steed. If walking was too far, you took a horse. Which worked fine as long as you wore a clothes peg over your nostrils.

Not because the horses needed a bath, but because the horses couldn’t find the loo. So the New York streets were littered with shit.

And that’s no exaggeration. By the late 1800s, New York had roughly 100,000 horses who produced about 30 pounds of crap per day. Which is almost 50 garbage trucks worth of poop.

Sadly, garbage trucks didn’t yet exist to move the brown goop. With no clear answer in sight, there was a huge fear that New York would be lost in a mountain of feces.

But then came the automobile.

Which wasn’t designed to solve the crisis, but is precisely what it did. The brown left the streets. The air lost its stench. And New York citizens got back their health.

Sounds like we reached the end of the story, right?

Wrong.

Although you’d think the first automobile would be paraded through Broadway like a liberating army, the automobile was ostracized and its drivers attacked.

Not too violently though. An attack usually meant catching a few rocks with your windshield.

But the point is the same: despite that it got rid of the manure, New Yorkers didn’t like the ‘devil wagon’. Which raises the question:

Why?

Well, cars were dangerously fast. Kicked up dust that flew onto crops and into faces. And because mufflers weren’t invented yet, the automobile was LOUD.

The car was also largely seen as a toy. The gas guzzler didn’t really serve a purpose besides being a fun way to pass the time.

The inventor of the car, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, just wanted to power two sets of wheels with an engine and see what happened. He didn’t care how people would use it.

So the first car owners used it to race through the streets, which led to lots of flat cats and dogs until the lawmakers set a speed limit.

But the automobile wasn’t boycotted because it mowed down one too many pets.

The reason people hated the automobile was because nobody could afford to buy a car except the rich. So most of the hate came out of jealousy.

Which also explains why we drive cars today.

Once Henry Ford’s factories started churning out tin Lizzies, half the families in New York could afford a car and started singing a different tune. A tune that loved cars.

New Yorkers didn’t hate cars, they hated that they didn’t have a car.

In short, people’s disdain for the automobile was hypocrisy horseshit.

P.S. It also didn’t hurt that over a decade went by between the first automobile and the mass production of Henry Ford’s Model T. As more cars rolled through New York, people got used to the automobile and realized it wasn’t that different from a motorized horse. Just less shitty.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach