Worldwide pen pals

I’ve found a new hobby that involves corresponding with individuals that send me letters that unknowingly end up in my spam folder. I’ll let my correspondence speak for itself:

**

From Vivian John Paul:

My Dearest,
 
  It is with profound respect and humble submission, I beg to state the following few lines for your kind consideration. I hope you will spare some of your valuable minutes to read the following appeal with sympathetic mind. I must confess that it is with great hope, joy and enthusiasm to write you this mail and I believe by the faith that it must surely find you in good condition of health. My name is Vivian John Paul Oulu 24 years old female from the Republic of Kenya, the daughter of Late Mr. John Paul Oulu. My late father was a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist who was the Chief Executive Officer and Communications and Advocacy Officer of the Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic Kenya (OFFLACK). My Father was brutally shot dead on Thursday 5Th March 2009 after a government spokesman accused their group of aiding a criminal gang. What led to the cold blood killing is still unclear but I know that my father life was the target. You can read more about my father in the BBC link below. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ africa/7927873.stm

After the death of my beloved father my wicked step mother along with my uncles team together and sold everything that my late father had and share the money within themselves, I lost my mother long time ago, and since then, my father loved me so dearly at my tender age may he rest in peace and may the great God give him a safe entry in Paradise Amen. Before the death of my father, he told me that he made a fixed deposit of the sum of Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars ($8.500.000.00) in one of the Banks here in Burkina Faso, with my name as his next of kin, which I confirmed his statement positively from the bank. But on my arrival to the Bank to withdraw the fund, the Bank foreign Operation Department Director whom I meet in person told me that my father instruction to their bank is that the fund would only be release to me when I am married or present a trustee/partner who will help me and invest the fund overseas after the transfer, and the bank ask me to go and look for a foreign partner.
 
Therefore my dear, I am soliciting your help for transferring of my inheritance fund into your bank account and investment assistance in your Country as my legal appointed trustee as the bank mentioned and it will be my intention to compensate you with 40% of the total fund for your services and help then the balance shall be my capital in your establishment which you are going to establish there in your country or position as my trustee and manger. I have suffered lots of set back as a result of my parents death. I left Kenya, because of incessant family funds. Presently, I am currently residing in Christ De King Refugee camp here in Ouagadougou Capital city of Burkina Faso. Hence, I want to settle in your country to further my education and spend the rest of my life. Please consider my request as my life is being hugely affected.

Thanking you a lot in anticipation of your quick response. I will give you details in my next mail after receiving your acceptance mail to help me.

 

Yours Sincerely Vivian John Paul.

**

From: Me.

Dearest Vivian,

It’s so rarely that someone – much less a total stranger – will sit down and pen a letter to a virtual stranger with “humble submission”…so eloquently stated, yet with a subject line of “help me out” to let me know that you’re down-to-earth and completely familiar with street jargon, you jive turkey.

In short, you had me at “Your Dearest,” and I would be more than happy to help you out with your multi-national problem. Yesterday I was forced to step over a panhandler – a former classmate of mine – as I happily skipped to my place of employment, which was awkward, but I’m much more willing to help someone with a unisex name writing from a foreign land than that prick, Darrel. That guy never took the time to pen out an e-mail from a foreign land purposefully avoiding using my name, so why should I help him?

We’re not so different, actually, you and I. Like you, my father was also a Kenyan lawyer, but not with OFFLACK. My father worked from The Bert Q. Sneezleweiner Society of Legal Aid and Panini Sandwich Advocacy Group of Rural Kenya (TBQSSOLAAPSAGORK), which is much easier to say the acronym out loud than type out…a gutteral acronym that sounds like an orangutan challenging an unwelcome visitor.

My father was also killed…although not by government accomplices, but an orangutan. My father mistakened the orangutan’s gutteral noise as the animal being familiar with his organization and foolishly approached the animal, only to be torn apart. That orangutan later went on to hold office in the Kenyan government, however, so it’s entirely possible our two tragic stories are more intertwined than we may have earlier expected.

The part about your wicked step mother especially got to me and left me with so many questions. What made her wicked? Did she and your late father reside in a part of Kenya inhabited by a Disney movie? Why didn’t she hold a position in OFFLACK…I imagine with your father being both CEO and holding a communications and advocacy role, she could have held a dual, oddly vast position in the business (Chief Operating Officer as well as Workplace Hazards Officer).

Your father was smart to hold that $8.5 million until you found a “foreign partner”…I assume that bank is also located in the same area inhabited by that Disney movie. It’s taking on a very “Blank Check” or “Brewster’s Millions” vibe here, so I’m half-hoping that there are more loopholes associated with this cash award. Perhaps when this is nearing completion, we’ll find out that there’s a twist where we can have the money, but have to raise a below-average-intelligence elephant as if it’s our own son until it turns 18. I assume we’ll learn an important lesson about ourselves during this process, however I’m getting ahead of myself.

Of course I’d be more than willing to help out a stranger contacting me out of the blue and offering to give me money…what kind of monster would I be to say no? I primarily deal in a barter system here in rural Iowa, however I’m certain that I could have some kind of account set up with the local “money shack” here in town and work up some kind of arrangement. I understand that you are writing with urgency, and I apologize for taking several days to get back to you…I was preoccupied with panini advocacy matters and scheming against my wicked step-uncle.

Most sincerely, and with profound respect and humble submission,

G.E.

Reviewing purchases from Lowes

I’m posting this on here because I don’t have faith that Lowes will keep this review online.

I recently bought a deck box, and after assembling it with ease, I thought, “I always gripe when I purchase something that is inferior…maybe I should offer thanks for purchasing a completely adequate product.

As a result, I went to lowes.com and offered my review on my new deck box:

**

Yep…it’s a solid box.

I purchased this as a sturdy, waterproof box to keep stuff from being strewn about my yard. It’s for this reason that the qualities I’m supposed to rate above don’t go in-depth enough: features (it’s square), design (still square), ease of use (I’m able to lift up the lid and put stuff in it). I would give similar ratings if I purchased a ball with the intent of rolling it…it works just great, but my expectations also weren’t ridiculous.

I was a bit worried when I went to purchase it. Like any good shopper, I checked the worst reviews first to see what the REAL gripes were about. All said it was difficult to put together. A bit wary, as I was once banned from all tools during high school shop and brought home a birdhouse duct-taped together, I figured, “How tough can it be to put together a box?” and bought it. It wasn’t. I’ve put together sandwiches more complicated than that thing. It’s actually a pretty good litmus test by the manufacturer…if you can’t put it together, you shouldn’t own it because you’d likely fall into it, not be able to find your way out and perish in your poorly-assembled coffin.

This is an excellent box, very simple to put together, and its four sides, top and bottom work perfectly to store items and protect them from the elements. If you’re looking for something cube-like to hold your outdoor items, and you’re capable enough to read directions and assemble something equally as complex as a pizza (OHHH…dough, then sauce THEN toppings…OK), you won’t be disappointed.

Pros: Square. Cube-like. Stackable.

Cons: Can’t roll.

Facebook and the fiction of self-perception

Remember when you were young and your imagination just ran wild?

You’d be in the backyard pretending to be soldiers or wizards or sports stars or actors or a wide variety of other personas that you’d conjure up with just a little imagination and a disregard for the world around you and its nosy neighbors peeking out at you from behind their blinds, wondering ‘What the hell is that kid doing now? Is he waving a stick around like a sword?’

While this practice is more prominent in childhood, it’s actually seen a great resurgence in the past five years for adults. I’m not saying that there are adults running around their backyards with sticks shoved down the back of their shirts pretending to be a sword-wielding He-Man, but I’ve noticed a staggering use of imagination in the way that most people use Facebook.

The practice of creating personas that most of us engaged in as youngsters has been brought back, with many of us using the social networking site as a way to make us seem like extremes of the people that we want to be. It’s akin to going to a high school reunion and exaggerating every part of your life to an extreme degree. This is the precise reason most people use Facebook, and when you become aware of this fact, it’s almost comical to the extent of how true it is. After all, how many people on your Facebook feed are currently constructing the following personas:

  • “I’m a workout freak.” Numerous times each day, you’ll receive a motivational quote involving working out from this person…usually an image taken from a Facebook group of other people obsessed with letting everybody know they work out. They’ve got the tracker that automatically posts to Facebook how far they’ve ran, and even if they didn’t, they’d tell you how hard of a workout they had immediately afterwards via a status message update.
  • “I’m super parent.” These status message updates are packed with life lessons they just got done teaching their kids, how they just stood up to a teacher/other parent/librarian for their child (“You think you can tell MY child how many books they can check out?”), or pointing out bad behavior they saw other parents doing so they be validated with comments other super parents (“Call me old fashioned, but…”).
  • “I’m a super successful business person.” This person will post status updates of every meeting they had, how long their day has been, and how busy they constantly are (a claim that is made less valid by the fact that they are on Facebook nearly constantly).
  • “I’m a philosopher.” This person posts quotes, deep thoughts and insights to current events via status updates.

 

When people cultivate these personas, they often times write them as if they are writing in their personal diary and are completely unaware that anyone else is reading them…although they’re crafted in such a way that they’re extremely obvious and more concerned about a personal image than a political candidate. Why? Because nobody is really quite sure exactly how Facebook should work. Should we post every minute detail of our day? Should we only post when significant events happen in our lives? Should we be overly personal or keep it light?

No matter how people decide to use it, however, one fact is obviously clear to them…what they write will be read by a lot of people. It’s not quite mass communication, but it’s getting close. They know that what they post on their Facebook wall has the potential to be read by potential employers, potential suitors, friends, strangers, enemies and family. It’ll stay there after we die, and what’s left will define the type of lives we live.

This is why we shape our Facebook personas each day in a way that defines not who we are, but who we want to be. None of it is accurate…it’s mostly just a reflection of the types of people we want to be. We want others to see us as workout freaks, super parents, successful professionals, philosophers, photographers, writers, fun-loving partiers and political junkies. We fill our pages with posts that help shape these personas and identify us to others in a way that we only see in our minds. We try to seem aloof about this fact, but we are all keenly aware that how our Facebook persona looks is seen by most everyone as an accurate reflection of our life. This could not be further from the truth.

In reality, our Facebook friends will never be as true to life as the friends we interact with on a regular basis because they’re reflections of how a person wants us to see them, not who they really are.

With every status update that helps shape this persona and mold it into a caricature of an ideal self-perception, we’re moving farther and farther away from reality. We’re not keeping a record of our lives and accomplishments and thoughts to share en masse with our friends around the world as we might like to think…we’re merely running around with towels tied around our neck, imagining ourselves as superheroes while, in reality, we’re nothing more than naïve and self-obsessed.

“I’m going to watch a show about people wanting to buy a house.”

I’ve created a sort of a litmus test for myself to determine if I’m about to do something stupid, and I fully understand the ridiculousness of that statement. Your thought is likely, “If you’re about to do something stupid, you should realize that,” but the reality is that most people do stupid things without ever realizing it, and being cognizant of this fact is the first step. It’s for this reason that, whenever I come up with an idea that I want to do, I use this test to determine if it’s stupid: I say the idea out loud.

I’m not sure what it is, but there’s just something about saying an idea out loud that, if it is, indeed, idiotic, you realize it almost immediately.

“I’m going to try to vacuum cookie crumbs off of our bed sheets.”

An obviously impractical idea that I once nearly attempted, had I not said the idea out loud, I’d likely still be pulling pieces of our high thread count sheets out of my vacuum, cursing my stupidity in the process. It was the simple act of saying this thought out loud that made me react with the same reaction as if I had heard somebody else say it…thinking “Wow, that is a completely stupid idea that’s going to turn out horribly.”

Since this practice is so completely applicable in my everyday life, I’d encourage others to give it a try…namely those in charge of deciding which television shows go on the air.

“I’m going to create a television show about moving stuff. You know, moving large stuff with trucks.”

Anyone that’s ever watched a moving company empty out a house and then empty back in another house knows this isn’t a process that’s completely enjoyable. I don’t care if that metaphor isn’t entirely accurate…it’s close enough to make my point. Watching people move shit around isn’t television…it’s something you do while you’re waiting for the bus and notice a tow truck is loading a vehicle on a flat bed. The only difference is, when the bus comes, like a commercial coming on, you don’t say to yourself, “Dammit, I really wanted to see how that was going to end.” I hate spoiling the show, but they ended up moving that vehicle.

I’ve seen “American Movers,” and I don’t care how much you defend the show, it’s boring. For those of you that disagree, I want you to say it out loud: “I enjoy watching a show where they move stuff.” How ridiculous do you feel right now?

“I think we should create another show about hog hunting.”

There are currently several…more than two…shows on television about hunting hogs. I don’t what is more discouraging – the fact that there was enough of an unrealized demand for a show about hunting hogs, or the fact that the market is currently big enough to support multiple shows about hog hunting. It’s entirely possible to DVR several days worth of hog hunting in just a couple of weeks now.

“What if we put mentally ill people or people struggling with addiction on television and sold advertising around it?”

I feel absolutely awful when I watch “Hoarders” or “Animal Hoarders” or “Intervention” or any of the other shows where, quite obviously, the show is based on somebody who is mentally unstable. It absolutely blows my mind that society is completely cool with a television network making money selling advertising for a show in which we watch somebody with a mental illness try to quit doing drugs or clean up their living room. It’s not a “documentary,” because those filming also hire somebody to offer assistance to the person having problems, but they also don’t continue to offer the assistance…if they are turned down, or if it doesn’t take, the issue is dropped, sad music is played while captions on a black screen explain what happened to the person, and the episode ends just in time for an advertiser to try and sell us something. It’s for this reason that these shows aren’t so much “documentaries” or “reality television,” but sort of a “Game show of sadness.” Sort of like “Wheel of Fortune,” where the “bankruptcy” tile is replaced with “live in a house full of cat shit.” And what advertiser wouldn’t want to aim at the demographic that is obsessed with watching people grapple with mental illness? (Take note of these…it’s kind of funny in a sick sort of way)

“We should make a show about a pawn shop that buys stuff from people.”

If this statement is followed by anything other than a look that says, “Did you stare at the microwave a lot as a kid?” then you’re not doing your part to quash stupidity. Why they haven’t made a television show about the shady shit that happens in pawn shops is beyond me…I would watch that. What I won’t watch is a variation of “Antique Roadshow” in which the proper British guy is replaced by some moron in a pawn shop that knows barely enough to dress himself in the morning, but can make a phone call to somebody who knows enough about something the person brought in to come into the shop and estimate a value on theeeeeeeeeeee…sorry, I dozed off while typing. I’d rather hang out in an actual pawn shop.

“We should make a show about people that renovate their house.”

Dammit…no. Nobody wants to watch people do that.

“We should make a show about people shopping for wedding dresses.”

Come on now…how many people are dying for jobs at wedding dress shops because it’s so unbelievably interesting? They’re all making hourly wage and wanting to get the hell out of there so they can go home and watch shows about people that use coupons.

“We should make a show about people looking for an apartment.”

I quit…I’m done.

I’m not one of those cynics that says that television programming is a direct representation of our society…it’s not, entirely. To a certain extent, a show is only viable to a network as long as they can find advertisers that are willing to spend money advertising on that network. People will watch some horrible stuff on television, but that program won’t stay on unless there are businesses willing to spend money with the hopes of reaching these people. Unfortunately, the more people that watch, the more enticing it is for advertisers. This begs the question, though, that most people should ask: if this program is so ridiculous that nearly everyone that watches it is, quite possibly, of lower intelligence, what companies are advertising with the obvious mission of attracting stupid people?

Much like the people that put these shows on the air should do, and much like I do when I’m considering pouring hot water on my windshield to get the ice off of it, everyone who sits down and looks at their TV menu for something to watch should first say what they plan to do out loud. If it’s stupid, avoid it and move on.

“I’m going to watch a reality show where they walk around the woods and try to find Big Foot.”

Really? Whatever…I’ve got some snow to mow anyways. That should work, right?

Everyone is wrong about everything, and other generalizations

I think there’s few things more appealing to people than an easy fight.

Now, I’m not talking about physical fights (people don’t usually find appeal in strapping on some gloves and taking on a small child in hand-to-hand combat), but I am referring to verbal sparring. Actually, that likely is not the correct term, as sparring usually implies that there’s somebody to spar with.

People enjoy picking fights with large, homogenous groups that will in no way offer any sort of rebuttal. These groups are extremely large, have no spokesperson in place to offer rebuttals and are often unjustly lumped together for the sole purpose of an attack. The most common example of this is the media.

“The media is reporting on this story and completely ignoring this certain aspect.”

As a member of the media, working for a small town newspaper, when people say this in front of me they often look at me and clarify that they’re talking about “the national media” or “television media” or “I didn’t see you standing there.”

The bottom line is, they’re looking to make a declarative statement about a large group of people without anyone being in place to offer a rebuttal.

It doesn’t matter who “the media” is, they’re pretty much evil. Now, if you wanted to get specific, “the media” would include Brian Williams, Hunter Thompson, Dan Rathers, the guy that writes “Jumble,” “D.J. Dave and the Party Pack on K-103.9 in the mornings,” Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World,” a small-town journalist in Idaho and Malcolm Gladwell doing a piece for “The New Yorker.”

To be honest, I don’t think them and everyone in-between that works for a media outlet are getting together in weekly meetings to try and figure out exactly how we can keep Sarah Palin (who’s also, technically, a member of “the media”) in the news, or how we can fabricate stories about global warming. If there were such meetings, the talk would likely be based on how little a majority of them get paid and probably wouldn’t work over to the topic of how a massive conspiracy can be implemented.

Also, “the media” has no spokesperson. When somebody randomly says, “it’s all perpetuated by the media,” they know there is going to be no rebuttal. Dan Rathers will not appear and offer his side of the story. Rush Limbaugh will not suddenly appear and patiently explain why you’re wrong. Donald Kaul will not suddenly appear and ask for clarification on what “it’s” is referring to.

In short, you’re picking a fight with nobody.

Having worked for different media outlets, I can always offer an explanation on coverage decisions from the perspective of a newspaper in our town – our coverage is always unbiased (print journalists are actually hyper-sensitive to this almost to a fault), it’s local (we don’t cover national politics once they drive out of our town…although that doesn’t mean we don’t care about them), and if a story didn’t receive coverage, a majority of the time it’s because our news staff (Jon and I) are currently writing or reporting something and can’t do 12 things at once.

Of course, people that attack the media are often quick to explain, “I’m not referring to you. I’m talking about the national media.”

I imagine if someone from the national media was present, they’d offer the explanation of “I’m referring to television media” or “I’m referring to Fox” or “I’m referring to MSNBC.”

Truth is, most media outlets cover news that people are curious about, and statements about media coverage of these events doesn’t reflect those that are covering them, they’re a reflection of the interests of our society. A majority of the time, stories that people don’t want to hear about are often the stories the reporter doesn’t want to talk or write about, but has to because that’s their job…to report the news, good or bad.

I’m not saying not to criticize anything – criticism and skepticism are two things that are vital to keeping people and organizations honest – but if you are going to be critical, be specific. State your frustrations and name a specific source, and if it’s causing frustration for you, chances are it’s causing frustration for others, so tell them about it. E-mail, write or call the media source and tell them what you didn’t like or ask for answer about coverage.

Don’t pick one-sided fights with large groups that can’t offer any sort of rebuttal because it’s a lazy way of having an opinion. Such sweeping generalizations often breed opinions that don’t vary from the norm and can’t be explained on the rare occasion that someone asks you to clarify.

Casting generalizations about large groups are wrong, and I say, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, that all who do so are buffoons.

Quack.

Definition of irony

Irony

noun, plural -nies.

1.

the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
2.
taking a class on ADHD and being distracted by drawing a duck riding a saddled dolphin.
Quack.

Cell phones are to toilets like Scott Caan is to donkey poetry

Nineteen percent of young adult phone owners have dropped their phone in a toilet.

 

That statistic isn’t meant simply to inform readers, to be stored away and recalled again if the question is ever brought up on Jeopardy or, more likely, a morning radio show involving someone using alliteration in their moniker (“Loudmouth Larry” or “Raucous Rick” both are possibilities). This statistic is shared as somewhat of a test to split those of you reading it into two categories.

 

Allow me to detour for a minute. I despise people that use the phrase “There are two types of people in this world,” because, like people that use the word “literally” after something they only mean “figuratively” (“I was literally sweating bullets.” Really? Because that could be a profitable venture for us…I’m going to go turn up the heat), using this phrase is rarely correct. Usually it’s used to discern the people that enjoy a specific TV show, which is wildly inaccurate. If there are really two types of people in this world, the people that enjoy “The Jersey Shore,” and the people that don’t, it would require everyone in the world to know what that show was…a frightening possibility because I don’t think it would cast the United States in a very flattering light, and it would leave us open to people in other countries that generalize as much as people that ask that question do (“Everyone in the U.S. drinks, fights and then passes out on twin beds from IKEA. Literally.”).

 

It’s for this reason I won’t use that statement, but I will use it to divide up a good majority of the people that are reading this by saying that a majority of people that hear “Nineteen percent of young adult phone owners have dropped their phone in a toilet” will have one of two thoughts. First, many will think, “That’s disgusting. How does that happen?” Secondly, many will think, “That number seems kind of low…does that include people that don’t have cell phones?”

 

For the most part, I’d be willing to wager that most of us fall into that second category, but if we were in public we’d feign the first response for a simple reason: most people don’t admit that they’re using their cell phone when using the bathroom.

 

This is understandable.

 

It’s jarring to think that we may be receiving text messages or reading a status update from someone that is in a stall, but to be completely honest, a majority of us do it. For me, this is somewhat discouraging.

 

I don’t have a problem with people using their phone while in the bathroom – I do it all the time – but it’s the cultural trend that this is creating and what this ultimately suggests that is somewhat disheartening. I can describe this thought in one sentence:

 

We live in a society where people now expect to be entertained while using the stool.

 

Think about it…how many young adults have you seen go more than an hour without using their cell phone? Think about the places where young adults are required to wait… waiting rooms, oil change places, Kentucky Fried Chicken (“Oh, you want chicken? That’ll be about a five minute wait.” That’s a legitimate quote I’ve heard from them.), etc.

 

Look at any of these places, and you’re bound to see nearly every young adult with their head down, thumbing away at a screen.

 

Really, I can’t blame anybody for this. I’m the exact same way in that, if given a few minutes, I tend to check my phone for new e-mails, news, Facebook updates and anything else that tends to keep me entertained. I try to remember what it was like to sit there without anything to keep me entertained and just let my mind wander, and it’s difficult to do. Usually, young adults just experience this these days on that one day each year when they forget to plug in their phone the night before and it goes dead. This is usually a traumatic experience.

 

Is this a change in human behavior with the introduction of a device that allows us to simultaneously use a toilet while “liking” a friend’s status about how they’re going to go work out after they get off of work, or have young adults always had the urge to be entertained, but just didn’t have the means? I suppose that would explain growing up with magazines next to the toilet, but I don’t recall those being used so frequently that they were dropped into the toilet often, even with the smaller “Reader’s Digest” versions.

 

We’ve reached a point in our society where we have begun to expect to be entertained at every moment. Interests shift as quickly as thoughts pop into our head…we’ll go from checking baseball scores to going onto Facebook to wish somebody a happy birthday to checking a new e-mail that just came in – all in the span of two minutes – and not give it another thought. This is because the technology is available…anybody that is like me and has tried to remember the name of the lesser-known Ocean’s 11 guy that was in “Enemy of the State” that was on TV, so you look it up on imdb.com and then find out that he’s the son of James Caan, who apparently is working a lot on several projects and has a long film career, but what the hell was he doing between 1983 and 1987 where he was in nothing, so I Google “James Caan 1984” expecting to find a stint in rehab and somehow stumble across a page of horse memorials where I find that he owned a palomino stallion that he named “Golden Caantender,” which makes me feel a little ill, and now surprised that there is a page dedicated entirely to horse memorials complete with a cheesy quote at the top by Stanley Harrison, which makes me wonder if he wrote exclusively horse poetry, and so I Google “Stanley Harrison” and find only that same quote about horses on other horse pages, so I broaden it and Google “Stanley Harrison poet” and find that, indeed, he was nearly exclusively a horse poet, which leads to the obvious question of “how much does a horse poet make” and “what other oddly specific types of poets are out there.” I consider Googling these briefly before remembering that I’m at work and don’t want our network guy approaching me asking why I’m Googling horse poets, so I go to the bathroom to use the stool and Google “donkey poems” on my phone.

 

There you go. I just went from Scott Caan to donkey poetry in about five minutes due entirely to the accessibility of technology. Fifteen years ago, I would have abandoned the urge to visit the library to find a reference book to look this information up, and would have gone about my day. That just doesn’t happen today.

 

We live in an age where technology allows us to look up literally (yes, that’s used correctly) anything we want in just a couple of minutes. Life has become far less philosophical and far more concrete, and this quest for knowledge has brought us from the library into a bathroom stall. The problem is, we rarely use it for self-betterment. There’s nobody learning Latin while on the toilet or learning about World War II while waiting for an oil change or trying to bust age-old math problems while waiting for a KFC to cook some chicken, which should be ready, because it’s already included in their freaking name. We use it for the most ridiculous questions that we never would have wasted a ride to the library for in the past, but now will gladly sacrifice two minutes to find out.

 

We need to learn what it’s like to simply sit there and do nothing, and give our mind the freedom to wonder what would happen if someone did, indeed, fill up a swimming pool with Jello. Go ahead and Google it…I’ll wait.

 

I can’t imagine what life will be like 50 years from now, as technology improves and, eventually, leaves me behind at the point where most 80-year-olds are…a bit intimidated by multiple buttons and not wanting to inadvertently blow up Cuba while trying to send a “letter” to my grandson. I imagine at that point that I’ll find myself in the former rather than latter category when posed a statistic about what people are doing in the bathroom with technology (re-reading that sentence, I think I’m as disturbed with how that’s worded now as I will be when I’m 80). Maybe technology will reach the point where it’s just normal to access information constantly, maybe people will grow jaded by technology and abandon all of it in the future, or maybe our brains will be assisted by electronics to recall the information without using handheld devices.

 

No matter what happens, if we hold on to our old practices and habits the way our elders do now, chances are people using their phones in the stalls is something that will happen the rest of my life. I’m just hoping that someday they develop the technology to make the damn things waterproof.