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Column: Smart technology makes for soft people

A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion is probably standing on a moving walkway in an airport, and that moving body will be darned if you think it should walk when modern technology is handling all necessary movement. Human beings are spoiled. I’m not complaining, and if I was complaining I’d do it online in the comfort of my favorite chair. I wouldn’t want to waste the energy it takes to use my voice.

Inventions like computers, smart phones and satellites have made it pretty easy to tackle day-to-day tasks and hard-to-experience hardships. I used to think that the best thing about growing old would be earning the privilege to complain about how easy kids have it. You can’t be a good old person without pointing out how much harder things were “in my day.”

You’re probably reading this article on a pocket-size computer that gives you the ability to purchase pants, call your mom, dim the lights in your living room and launch a shuttle into space, all with the touch of a button. My great-grandfather didn’t have the luxury of high-definition television or vaccines. When it was cold, my great-grandfather would go outside, chop down a tree and burn it. He put in the work and produced the blood, sweat and tears that gave him a right to complain.

What could I find to complain about someday? The most adversity I face in a given day is when I’m watching TV and a message pops up on the screen to tell me the channel is about to change because two shows are scheduled to record. I now have three minutes to decide if I’m emotionally invested enough in the program I’m watching to cancel one of the recordings, or re-schedule one of the recordings to record at a later time. That is the most stress I encounter. It’s not exactly a bear attack or black lung.

My biggest complaint will be having used an encyclopedia to write school papers. I guess I, too, can gather the grandchildren around my rocking chair and tell them horror stories about downloading music with a dial-up internet connection and watching TV without a remote control.

Me: “If you wanted to change the channel, you had
to get up off of the couch and turn a dial.”

Grandkids: (Run away, screaming.)

Smartphones without power have become the 21st century swine flu. I think about the famous picture of workers eating their lunch on a skyscraper beam high above New York City during the construction of Rockefeller Center. If it takes four minutes for the kid to push my tacos through the drive-thru window, I fire off an email to my Congressman. I don’t even like to eat outside because a bee might fly near my food.

People don’t even have to go through the struggle of signing their names to buy groceries anymore. It’s going to be hilarious when an asteroid shower takes out our satellites and causes a massive, world-wide blackout. I’ll have to re-learn how to draw a cursive ‘G.’

I guess there’s a bright side to our coddled existence. Complaining could become a thing of the past. We’ll never have to walk to school through 6 feet of snow, uphill both ways. The NAV in our SUVs will find us a better route.

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