The Greatest and Worst Invention of All Time
(I thought this was a fitting time for me to rant on the evils of a world filled with non-human contact).
Today is the 40th anniversary of the “cell”, or “wireless” phone. At first they were large, cumbersome, and costly. Now virtually everyone who can walk and talk has one.
It was no longer necessary to “wait by the phone” for an expected call. Young women, anticipating the “boy of her dreams” calling to ask her out on their first date, could receive the call anywhere. No longer did I have to sit at home by the phone waiting for the automobile repair shop to tell me my car was ready. It became unnecessary to wait with trepidation for the doctor to call with test results. And, God forbid, if there was an emergency I experienced while driving or walking, a 911 call could be made immediately, allowing a more timely response from the necessary service.
Those are some of the good things. Now come the bad.
Overuse of wireless phones is annoying. They are the prime reason I have not been to a movie theater in more than 5 years. Movies are an escape, I don’t need to hear that your girlfriend just purchased a new sweater. The same goes for restaurants. Sharing food together is more than simply sustenance. It is a time for conversation, for sharing. But, it became common to see a party of four talking on their phones rather than to each other.
I don’t see much of that anymore. It’s not because they are not on their phones, they are now “texting”.
Intelligent conversation for those under 30 is waning. Texting allows a person to be anyone they wish without an exchange of even aural contact.
There have been many studies about the effects of removing the human experience from our lives.
The first, and most obvious is the physical danger created by texting. It is illegal here in Nevada to text and drive. Highway Patrols the nation over have declared the practice “more dangerous than drunk driving”.
But, texting while walking is dangerous as well. There is a campaign partnered by the university and local police here in Northern Nevada to make young people aware that pedestrians have a responsibility for themselves and drivers.
The negative results of constantly using an electronic device are dangerous to our literal humanity. The lack of exchange of emotions and human contact are creating emotional instability, and a new type of “loneliness”. I read in one report that a 16 year old said, “he wouldn’t know how to carry on in a one-on-one conversation, and he hopes he’ll never have to”.
I would never want to be without my phone. I have family and friends living in Florida, Tennessee, and Denver. It’s important for them to be able to reach me if they need my assistance. With the exception of my wife calling me on her lunch hour, I seldom receive one call a day. And I love it.
I don’t text, and never will
For over a year my wireless phone was a necessary tool. I was in a position where I had to give instructions or assist those who worked with me 7 days a week. I averaged over 50 calls a day. I didn’t enjoy it, but it was the only way to accomplish assigned tasks.
There is a school bus stop 200 feet from my home. If I’m out early, I see the high school kids waiting for their ride. None of them are talking to each other, they are all on their electronic devices.
I used to think that showing my “ancient” side was a laughable situation. With complete sincerity, I must admit that I miss the “old days” when times were simpler. And they were a lot more fun. We were happier and healthier. I am a lucky man to have grown up in those times.
Columnist-the Guardian Express