Is there any tool created by all of Western civilization that is really as useful and important as the fork?
No, I'm totally freaking serious. Forks are awesome. For those of us who are chopstick-impaired (this does not include my sister, who made a snotty comment over my shoulder about doing without forks), the fork is perhaps the most efficient of all eating utensils. It can be used to cut (though only with effort and preferably against soft foods), stab, scoop, and tear. The reason sporks are so inconsistently used isn't because they are half-fork and half-spoon, it's because they're otherwise respectable spoons trying to pass themselves off as having the functionality of a fork. (They actually are a little more useful than spoons, in my opinion, but what's the point of making a tool that does what a fork does poorly when you have a fork already?)
But the usefulness of the fork is such that it travels beyond the dinner table. No, seriously. Have you ever tried to bale hay? I was shocked, truly shocked, to realize that not only is it really hard without a pitchfork, but incredibly light and easy with a pitchfork.
Then there's the trident, a cross between the fork and a spear. Let's be frank: Better luck next time, guys.
Why does no one validate forks? I don't get it.