Wednesday, March 22, 2023 | Sha'ban 29, 1444 H
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26°C / 26°C

Of Munster’s and mobiles, not mice nor men

Has every technological advance, every ‘must have,’ life-enhancing development been for the good of mankind

Living in today’s world, and looking back over our shoulders, I wonder how many of us yearn for the quieter life of yesterday? Just think about it... has every technological advance, every ‘must have,’ life-enhancing development been for the good of mankind, or have some simply created complexities that were never meant to be?

For instance, I am incredibly thankful for my desktop personal computer, with its word processor allowing me to make, erase, or correct a million mistakes. Without going to my library, or my dictionary, I can check with just a couple of clicks and a few keystrokes, any reference, resource, fact, or text, and proceed with my thoughts barely hindered. Previously, I would write, or type, with a myriad of sheets of paper around me, all with words, sentences, quotations, facts, statistics, or ‘doodlings,’ in my writing. It was hard work by comparison with today, chaotic, and often ‘character building,’ and when you are a two-fingered typist like me, incredibly frustrating.

On the other hand, I feel that I could easily do without my mobile phone.

What about you? Could you live without, or could you imagine living without, your mobile phone? I’m not fussed to be honest. I don’t get on the ‘upgrade train,’ and have to have the latest model, in fact the last time I changed my phone was so I could get one with larger text buttons, because my sausage-fingers made texting more demanding than it should have been. That said, I am now forced to keep my mobile phone close at hand, as every-man-and-his-dog are now utilizing two factor verifications. What started a couple of years ago as a banking industry practice, has now become compulsory, it seems, for energy suppliers, emails, online shopping, and sign-ups for governmental and health agencies.

So now, my Android (I never fell for the Apple), goes everywhere I go. It sits like an inconvenient lump in my pocket, larger and heavier than any wallet I have ever had, mis-shaping whatever refinement and sartorial elegance I ever had, or thought I had. Oh, I could just carry it in my hand, but then when I do that I so often forget to pick it up, and spend half the day looking for it. And really, I just don’t like it!

I know. Somebody might want, or need, to ‘get-a-hold-of-me,’ urgently. Honestly... if there is an urgent need to contact me, it’s probably bad news and I don’t want to hear it, or would rather hear it later. What did you say, I need it to check my emails? No, that’s why I have an office and a study, so I can read my emails, triage them, and respond effectively. But what about photos? I rarely take them... and selfies... goodness me. It’s bad enough having to have my photo taken sometimes. Me taking a photo of me, aaaaaargh! That has never been one of my life priorities. What else? Paying for stuff? Um, money, maybe, or cards? Oh, I dunno.

Certainly, among the youth of today, there is significant reliance upon their phones. We have rules in school to prevent distractions, and to ensure class tasks are ‘genuinely’ completed, which is a whole ‘nother debate, with the disciplinary consequences being loss of phone for the hour or the day under the school’s stated guidelines. Oh, what drama ensues when the beloved mobiles are taken away. I’m not kidding. It’s dramatic, it’s life-changing, and not in a good way! It strains teacher/student relationships like nothing else. So, what have we come to? We have created a monster, a Frankenstein. Or maybe just a Munster, a benign monstrosity we can laugh with? Nah... didn’t really think so.

But guess what? My phone has had the last laugh... I have bought a new car, it’s perfect for me, but I must plug my phone into the touchscreen to access my maps, so I can find my way around... so I DO need it. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

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