What It's Supposed To Mean:
That we're talking about a really great thing, one of the best things humanity has ever managed, something almost but not quite as good as the shining pinnacle of human accomplishment: sliced bread.
What It Actually Means:
Sliced bread was invented in 1928, which is a little before my time, so I can't say for sure how people reacted to it. I guess it was, like, pandemonium? Fistfights in the streets, with people all stepping on each other's necks to get their hands on this miracle of the modern age, sliced bread. "No longer must we live in the darkness!" they shouted, voices as one.
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Is this what bread lines were about?
But that doesn't seem likely. Sliced bread makes the process of making a sandwich somewhat easier. It definitely saves a minute or two there and results in more consistent sandwiches. That's not nothing.
But it's not much either, is it? In 1928, there were already several thousand things better than sliced bread. Powered flight, medicine, and oral sex are the first three that come to mind. And sliced bread wasn't even the greatest thing invented that year. Even the biggest fan of consistent sandwiches would have to admit that penicillin, discovered later that year, was probably a greater and more significant leap forward.
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"Billy, which do you like least, inconsistent sandwiches, or dying of meningitis?
Because if it's the one I think it is, I've got good news."