Does anyone else think that we are developing a society that will soon be unable to think for itself? I now understand what my father was talking about when he use to start out every sentence with, “When I was a kid…” I am far from a grumpy old man, but I’m young(ish), so I have time to get there. There have been some great developments in our society in the past ten/fifteen years(smart phones, satellite TV, breakthroughs in medicine, Viagra, pancakes with the syrup inside… The syrup is right inside the pancake!), but some things should be done old school, in my opinion.
I would have to say that some of the worst developments I’ve seen in recent history are those that have taken place at the cash register. These things now look like the control panel at the NASA launch pad. As I stand behind a man in his late fifties buying a six pack of beer in our local convenience store, I get to witness these things first hand. The cashier can’t sell this man with a gray beard and crows feet beer, until she swipes his license through the register. They have made it so no one has to make a judgement for themselves. An eighty seven year old man with a walker, a total of five hairs on his head(none of them touching each other) and a liver spot the shape and size of Vermont, can shuffle up to the counter with a bottle of cough syrup and he will hear the words(after they’ve been repeated at least three times), “ID, please”. All of this, so the clerk doesn’t have to look at the person and use their brain to decide whether or not they are old enough to buy something. Then, once this poor guy gets his six pack, the register automatically spits out the change for them. Is it too difficult to open the drawer and pull out two quarters, a dime and three pennies? By the looks of the kids I see working here, it does seem like it might be too much exercise for them. This is the generation that when the computers go down, they close the store, because of an inability to do practical math. If you walk up to them and ask them to change a dollar, they ask, “Into what?”
We now have smart cars! How about making smart drivers, instead? I just saw a car that can parallel park itself and sense a possible collision and automatically apply the brakes. What will you have to do during your drivers test in a few years? “I would’ve gotten a perfect score, but when I pushed the parallel park button, I forgot to include the instructor in my selfie.” How does this car sense an impending collision? I’ve ridden with a certain person and sensed an impending collision twenty times in five miles, but it was up them to apply the brakes as needed. If they had one of these smart cars, it would take them twenty minutes to get down my driveway and they would need a new set of brakes every time they got home from the store. These cars are one step below robots and I’m not talking about the cool, badass Terminator kind or the effeminate and therefore unthreatening C3PO. Here’s all you need to know how to do when you get in your car: put on seatbelt, start engine, try not to kill anyone or yourself before you arrive at your destination. Do we really need a smart car for this?
We have these crazy smart phones at our fingertips as well. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. How can you complain about something that can access porn at any given time?! I’m just not sure we need to be able to look up something every time we’re not sure about the answer. Stop and try to think of who wrote The Telltale Heart or what band does Loveshack, rather than just typing it into a search engine. It will make your brain stronger and no matter how much you try to rationalize it, Candy Crush does not help improve cognitive skills. Although, it does make the time pass in the doctors office waiting room faster than thumbing through the February 2011 issue of People Magazine does. All that does is remind me that once again I did not make the cut of the top fifty sexiest men.
Let’s just try to use our heads a little more. We should be able park our own cars, make change, tell the difference between an eighteen year old and a sixty five year old and when our phone battery dies, dropping into the fetal position shouldn’t be the only option. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the store and with all of this great technology, it now takes twice as long to buy cereal and condoms. I think I need my ID for one of those.
About: Ted Snyder
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