There was going to be this great article, see? It was a take-off on a news story about how the way in which we complete some task has come full circle. Forty years ago we did something in such a manner. Ten years ago, we did it far differently. Now we are doing it just like we did four decades in the past. Oh, it was going to be a real pip … funny, insightful, top-notch prose, with just the right amount of condescension. I couldn’t wait to get it all down on paper.
Here’s the problem: I didn’t, at that precise minute, actually put it down on paper and now I can’t remember the topic of the story.
Well, I could recall the gist of the whole thing, that we highly (?) evolved humans have discovered all our modern gizmos aren’t quite the life savers many think they are and that change does not necessarily equal progress. With just that much to go on, I tried to think of the specifics.
Could it be how we make phone calls? No way. While I still do have a land line, mostly to support my fax machine, I have partaken of the cell phone Kool Aid. It is so convenient not to be tied to an immobile phone. Ironically enough, given the second paragraph, I can remember when we got our first phone answering machine. The fake wood-grain plastic thing was the size of a shoe box. It took up a lot of counter-top space but the days of missed phone calls were over. At the sound of the tone, anyone who was willing — and it those early days plenty were not — could leave a message that would be faithfully recorded on a re-windable, erasable tape. And if you think I am a dinosaur for having a fax machine, you should see what I have for a cell phone. It is a ten year old flip-top model. I can’t easily text on it, taking photos is a real chore, and nowhere on the thing could I play a song if I wanted to. It does, however, fold into a small-dimensioned package that fits quite nicely into a pocket and it will not accidentally dial someone when I sit down.
It can’t be how we communicate. I am so old-fashioned I still write letters. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a USPS-delivered first class letter with, you know, real writing inside? I am not going to say texting is going to be the downfall of civilization as we know it, but I do think it will be the downfall of the apostrophe and the comma. IMHO if U R gonna TXT U R not gonna no how 2 SPL. 1970s-era science fiction writers tried to come up with wildly improbable items. One of the things deemed incredibly futuristic was a phone on which you could see the person to whom you were speaking. Crazy stuff, right? The only thing crazy about it now is that some people actually want their screen-sized morning faces broadcast over the ether. This is not your grandpa’s wake-up call. I just met a woman who says her dog has Instagram, whatever that it. Needless to say, I do not have Instagram. I do get that it is something you do on a phone or on a computer. What I do not get is how a dog works its big hairy feet on the tiny keys.
Exercising hasn’t changed all that much. Weight lifting is still boring, the treadmill is still boring, jogging is still boring and painful. Not until pie-eating is included as an Olympic event is there any future for me in athletics.
It could not possibly be how we eat. None of our generation is ever going to need to be embalmed because when we were growing up, we ate food that was about sixty-five percent preservatives. These were preservatives that were (1) unpronounable (2) unspellable and (3) undigestable. We didn’t know we were eating this stuff because no one was required to put an accurate label on food. It’s so much easier today to know where our food is sourced and to buy it locally. We did used to get a lot of our food locally and by locally I mean our back yard. We had a huge garden but had to give it up because the raccoons were far smarter than we were and picked the corn approximately two minutes after it was ripe. Maybe those smart raccoons could contact that smart dog by Instgram. Whatever that is.
My bike rides take me past the field where my future hamburgers are grazing. Those beef have a nice life right up until the last five seconds or so. And we have a much larger option when it comes to organic foods. True, I once found a dead worm in my organic lettuce, but at least I know it died a natural death.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.