Old Faithful vs New and Improved


By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin

I ask myself this question all the time. Is old faithful more dependable and reliable than the new and improved?  Old faithful items are things that have always worked well and don’t really need improvement.  They are just fine as they are.  The new and improved items are things that are considered much better than they used to be.

Here are a couple of examples where I feel old faithful items are much more dependable than the new and improved ones.

Automatically Flushing Toilets

Yes! These toilets automatically flush, usually at times when they are not required to. This device has “off timing”. I have never accessed this device in a helpful way. It either flushes before I need it to, during, or after, and after again. The “bottom” line is I always seem to get splashed from it. The whole idea about using a toilet is NOT TO GET WET!  I didn’t sign up for that. I know it’s not me. It’s the sensors. Who needs sensors when accessing a toilet anyways? 

I’m quite certain automatic flushing toilets, flush much more often than they need to. In my case it’s usually 3 to 1 times more than I need. I consider this extremely wasteful. I think old faithful works much better in this case.  It’s easy, just flush when you’re done using it. 


New and improved toothpaste. These toothpastes have so much extra stuff in them. You can hSuzanne Reisler Litwin, Keeping it Real, Rhonda Massad, West Island Blogave a combination of toothpaste with:  tartar control, stain control, pastes, gels, both paste and gels, whitening bleach , mouth wash, fluoride, baking soda, sensitivity control, flavours,  etc.

That’s a huge variety. Months ago, I developed a rash on my face. My dermatologist suggested I find a tooth paste that is simply a paste without added treatments or controls. Not an easy thing to find. Maybe 1 in 50 will be what I’m looking for.   I started to use this simplified toothpaste. Voilà, my skin rash cleared up! Good o’l reliable plain Jane toothpaste did the trick.


The o’l pen and paper and the art of writing. This is where you can call me old fashion, I am. Years ago a friend of mine was busy using a Palm III digital device to store all her personal information. Pre-cellular phone days of course. Now she uses an iphone to store all her information.

I carry around an agenda as I am a visual person and I need to access and create information via a pen and paper. Whenever my very digital friend sees my agenda she goes crazy. The questions she always asks me are, “Why can’t I store everything in my cellular phone or tablet? Why do I carry an agenda? For what purpose do I need this? Don’t I feel old?”

Those are valid questions especially now that we live in a very busy digital information sharing world.

My answer is simply, “I don’t have to plug it in. It works all the time. It’s reliable and doesn’t need to be charged. It’s simply 100% non-electrical  and reliable. Beat that!” The pressure to change to digital here is looming as I can feel the stares when I access my agenda book.


My same digitally advanced friend has an electronic digital picture frame on her desk.  This picture frame displays a constant rotation of pictures of her family.  There are probably over 200+ pictures stored in it. Each picture is displayed for about 1 to 2 minutes, and then it rotates to the next.  You can always change the pictures and the timing.  At $200.00, it is a very fancy highly functional digital picture frame. 

The other day I noticed the frame was missing.  I asked her what happened to it, assuming she was “uploading” some new pictures of her family.  She complained that the picture frame’s digital technology was outdated.  Her new cellular phone is no longer able to connect with the picture frame technology. So, the picture frame was no longer useful to her.

She stated that she was looking to buy a picture frame.  “Aaaaah, what?” I asked.  She said, “A picture frame, you know the old fashion kind that you put paper pictures into.” I asked, “The kind of picture frame that you open the back and physically change the picture?  The $10-15 dollar kind?”  Yes! That was the kind of frame she was talking about.  I know what to give her for her birthday now! 

Sometimes, simple ways to do things are the best way. Not everything needs improvement. Somethings are just meant to work the way they were originally intended for. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Good o’l faithful is good o’l… good.

Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column. 

She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real.  Please visit her website  www.suzannereislerlitwin.com  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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