28
Jul
13

There Was A Time…

I was working at my computer recently when all of a sudden the screen froze. In the middle of highlighting a phrase on an important (to me) writing project, everything froze. And, I couldn’t push a button or a combination of buttons or enter a command to save a life. All I could do was cut the power. And, it scared me. It made me mad.

Then I got to thinking…

Here I am worried one more time about losing access/use of a computer. I’ve already met with my share (which may be smaller than your share and lower than your tolerance level for technological “oopsie daisies” which either send you to a technician or the store for a new model) of technological scares. I’ve already lost my cool, stressed myself out and forked over more money than I probably should have ever paid to save this thing that essentially became an addiction which robbed me of my perfect eyesight from over-exposure. I’ve faced chat room bugs, registry meltdowns, potential blue death screens and any number of other freezes. I used to get upset when my video game system, game or controller stopped working. And, frankly, I am sick of it all.

Some people worry about getting enough coffee every day to keep them “perky” as they go about their business. Oh, you don’t want to mess with them if they don’t get that coffee. I suppose that’s like any other drug addict needing their smokes or fixes. Isn’t it?

Where am I going with all of this you may ask. Well…

 

 

The Good Old Days

I had a dream today that brought back semi-fond memories of a time when I was consumed with interest in cartoon characters the adults around me would consider juvenile wastes of time and resources. But, to me, they were inspirational. And, when my family could or would not afford me pieces of those wonders, I had to use my imagination and thankfully had some pencil and paper handy to create my own little wonders…if they were wonders to anyone, at all.

Back then–as they say–times were simpler. Back then I would wake up most mornings without an air conditioner or microwave oven and simply be grateful I had a mother who liked to cook and bake. I took a simple yellow metal bus to school without a GPS or fancy, talking radio-phone-remote control-thermostat-heart rate checker-face maker-recommend-everything-for-me box. Back then, my alarm clock was the latest technology and cost me plenty.

My biggest concern was getting up for school on time and hoping no one picked on me that day. If my folders were knocked to the floor by some bully or careless passerby, I didn’t cry over a cracked screen no longer letting me see them. I couldn’t say the computer ate my homework. I simply collected the scattered papers and hoped they were still good enough to give my teachers.

If anyone needed help with anything, you looked it up in a phone book, went to a neighbor or–as a horrible last resort–sent word to the local newspaper to print an ad asking for assistance. You couldn’t throw a coin in the Google fountain and expect a miracle. Telephones were tied to the walls and kept people out of harm’s way when they used them. If you had something important to discuss, you waited until you came home, used a payphone on the street or grabbed a phone at the office/school. You learned something about patience and the value of a call.

 

 

The Not-So-Hot New Days

Nowadays, just about everything has a computer in it. And, the tech companies keep pitching newer and newer models every year with some minor improvement that is just going to knock your cyber socks off your artificial feet (which have replaced your fleshy ones after rotting from poor use or damage from distraction). I worry that it won’t be long before they start putting them inside us. [And, no, I am not talking about pacemakers or those little submarine pills that swim through your body.] It’s bad enough we’ve been cattle prodded into the digital age which is swiftly pushing 35 mm film and so many formats of so many things down a dusty trail of space debris while still struggling with the addictions of fossil fuels and monetary greed.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And, yet, what hasn’t stayed the same is the basic calm and comfort of not relying upon unreliable technology for so many things. This is the bi-product of haste and carelessness. In an effort to make things easier, faster and cheaper, we burn our brains out, clog our vital organs and fry our skin cells at the cost of billions of lives.

We used to throw more members of other species “under the bus” to test things. That’s cruel. But, not any more or less cruel than testing them on each other!

Part of me thinks there is this very select group of people high on the wealth mountain who are somehow watching all of this happen under their noses. They say, “Let’s see what happens if we do this to that group or try this product on those people over there.” And, in doing this, they learn what works or doesn’t work for their benefit. People are no more valuable than cattle or crickets to them. So, a few hundred or thousand die from some illness or malfunction caused by the latest model of some silly product they tested. So a few insurance bills and lawsuits get together and do a tango. No big deal. But, if these people high on the mountain are forced to breathe the same air or immerse themselves in the very products they are testing at any time, are they not at some measure of the same eventual risk? All because they wanted life to be easier, faster or more profitable? [Hi, could you put King Midas on the line? I think he might have a message for these people.]

How helpless we feel if our do-everything-for-us-but-breathe-sleep-and-eat “phones” or household communication and entertainment devices (better known as PCs or Macs if you prefer) stop working. For some, it’s no bother to trot over to some store and pick up a replacement. For the rest, it can be a miserable, unsettling and who knows how long period of unrest and accelerating discomfort which could explode into panic at any time! [And, breathe.]

So, while we seem to be slowly moving our way up to the times of George and Jane Jetson, living in sky-high houses with flying cars and capsules for everything, let’s remember what we are losing in the process. That sense of calm and appreciation for what the universe gave us. Mother Nature.

Now, I get why certain literary figures–like Adam and Eve, Cain and Prometheus–were punished. They rushed to get something they didn’t really need. At what cost? Adam and Eve lost their innocence and the Garden of Eden/paradise. Cain lost his brother in a fit of violence over senseless envy. Prometheus left Mount Olympus to share the latest technology of the times (fire) with mortals. It cost him his liver and trapped him for an eternity under the torment of a vulture. If each of these figures would have patiently appreciated what they had and worked with others in harmony, progress might be better for all.

But, if you think you can live without that tree outside your door or real green grass producing free clean air to breathe…if you can spend your days sleeping in an electric beehive chamber and risk radiation poisoning…if you would rather worry about pixels and bit rates entertaining you every waking minute than how to interact with people outside your door…if you never need to experience the wonders of the world first hand and within reach…then go ahead and ignore the crumbling environment around you and sit in your hovel with that little glowing screen until the last one ceases to work and you’ve traded your soul for another minute of internet usage. I hope your last “tweet” is a good one.

I say all of this…and, still, I am fretting over my PC screen freezing…

Let’s bring back civilization before it’s too late.

 

~A. P. Writingbolt, 7-28-2013

P.S. Of course, I couldn’t bring this word to as many of you as quickly/easily without a computer and internet service. But, you might already know all of this or someone with similar ideas. Those of you who can say you don’t rely upon coffee/drugs or electric devices every day deserve a salute. As do those who may not even be able to see these words because they are living just fine without knowing how to work a computer (provided they aren’t involved in some other crooked business).

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7 Responses to “There Was A Time…”


  1. 1 Ovis Obscura
    August 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I think there’s room in our lives for tech, as long as we don’t become dependent. The internet is fantastic for communication, news, and, of course, cat photos with crazy misspelled captions. I would feel less if I didn’t have the ability to talk to my friends around the world–most of which I have never actually met in person. Internet friends are still real friends.

    But there has to be balance. There always has to be balance. I read digital books, and I read real books. I go outside, but I love my smartphone. The digital world makes organizing myself easier, but I still keep a lot of my lists on paper.

    I believe in using technology. I believe it has a purpose. But, like anything else, it can become dangerous if overused.

    (And man, don’t get in my way if I haven’t had my coffee. Seriously. My day doesn’t start until after that first cuppa.)

    • August 3, 2013 at 8:06 am

      I guess I haven’t accepted the internet as a news/TV source, yet. ‘Not sure when/if I ever will. Cat photos…bah. I wish I had friends like that. But, after years of Yahoo chat, message boards and other social media, I seem to have exhausted both my interest and patience in online socializing. Yet, I keep looking. I just struggle with the whole distance/separation and limited sharing. As I did with the pen pals I had some years ago. Sure, they are real people–though my family would argue real people are those you can touch–but I sure would like a shoulder to cry upon and know I can count on someone to be there when I need them rather than send out messages in bottles or rely upon digital feeds for interaction. I suppose with more modern tools that provide web cams and the like, the distance might not be as bad. But, I am a slow internet turtle.

      I am a terrible reader. And, reading on a computer screen has messed with my eyes…even now. I have started reading, again. But, strictly paper books I can hold. I can’t see investing in an e-reader. I like looking at book covers on a shelf and being able to flip through things without risking a mistake from a touch screen or overheating my hand from the battery running too long.

      Poor you, relying upon coffee that way:P My day usually starts with a bowl of cereal which lasts me about 2 hours tops. It’s a weak breakfast, but it gets my motors going. If there’s no milk handy, I usually opt for a cheese or jelly bagel and juice/water/tea.

  2. August 10, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I tried to like this but I couldn’t find the button. You should really make it more visible. It’s not a real blog post if people can’t ‘like’ it =P (ps I am the Fable guy).


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