SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary: Humor

Put Down Your Danged Blinky Toy!



October 02, 2018
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
The other day a very, very  long time friend noted that life is "pretty cool" because now all of us have "Star Trek Communicators." 

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Natch, I didn't burst his bubble by telling him I didn't have a "smart" phone. But his point is valid. Where once the idea of a personal communicator was science fiction, now  pretty much every has one on his or her person at all times.

That's where I buck the tide. I do indeed have a cell phone, but it is one  of the those cheap a-- Go phones that sits in a drawer unless I am traveling, which is pretty much impossible these days without some sort of personal communication device.

So why don't I carry a fancy-dancy blinky toy around like apparently every other carbon-based life form ( I learned that phrase from Star Trek!)?

Well, first of all, I am almost always within reach of a land line.

Second, if I am driving my car or in the bathroom, I do not want to talk to you. I am otherwise engaged.

Three, where I work cell phones are verboten. Besides, I am usually either teaching a class, talking to someone, or engaged in a work related task. I can't (WON'T) just drop whatever I am doing to talk to you. Send me an email. I will answer it when I have a minute.

And four, I would miss so-so-so much of life, if I spent it staring at a little screen in my hand.

But I digress.

I was thinking the other day, about the various things that one misses if they just stare endlessly at their modern day "palm pilot." 

For example, I was walking down Dock Street yesterday morning and I had to step aside because a woman (who I know pretty well) was strolling down the sidewalk, eyes glued to her personal data device. She didn't even see me.

She also didn't see another friend of hers who walked up to her, arms open, anticipating a hug. She smacked into that woman in full stride and - quel horreur - dropped her cell phone. I hope it broke.

Anyway, here are some of the things you may be missing in order to maintain your close personal relationship with your blinky toy.

1) Yes, that was indeed an elephant seal floating on the surface near the entrance to Thomas Basin last week. Your forbearers would be horrified to know that made it this far in life and still "missed the elephant."

2) That there is actually a high end watch company call "Shinola." Lots of ads around town. One of my favorite uncles used to refer to something that looked fancier than it really was as "all sh-- and Shinola." Which itself was a bastardization of the phrase "doesn't know sh-- from Shinola." Shinola being a shoe polish back in the day. Whatever Shinola actually is I don't think I want to pay $1,000 and put it on my wrist.

3) Probably the most famous reality boat in television has been quietly docked in Ketchikan for the past few months. Yes, indeed that is the "Time Bandit" of Deadliest Catch fame parked inside Berth One. You probably didn't notice it without the overly dramatic show music, intense narrator, and the endless crew expletives blasting your ears.

4) A million years from now - when our species has long gone the way of the Dodo Bird - some future archeologist will come across the broken pieces of the sidewalk behind the Discovery Center, find the cat footprints in the concrete, and try to extrapolate the story of our civilization from them. I.E, 21 Century humanoids walked on all fours; were covered in a dense, but highly sheddible fur; had an unusual attachment to plastic feathers on strings; and were frequently hit by cars while crossing the street and staring at their cell phones.

Those are just a few of the things you see, if you aren't staring at the screen for the latest photo update of your aunt shopping for lentils, binging on back episodes of "My Tiny Cell Life," or taking selfies with all the people you no longer actually talk to.


Live it.

Before it actually goes away.




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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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