By Mike Nettleton
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology, despite the fact I tend to ignore a huge percentage of it. My wife and I may be two of the only human beings left on the planet who have never texted or tweeted. I have no desire to know what my phone is dreaming when I put it to sleep. We have no apps, other than the one that allows you to enter a number and push a button to call it. Our ring tone sounds like a (gasp) telephone.
Have all the amazing developments in technology really enriched our lives? Is communicating in 140 characters tweets connecting us or allowing us to avoid real human contact? And what’s with cyber-bullying? Can’t we go back to the day when the local knuckle-dragger would simply punch you in the face and take your lunch money?
Does this sound like a rant? Sure is. Here are my top five technology gripes:
#5. People posting their every movement, stray thought or facial blemish on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or any other social networking site. Okay, you’ve become a grandparent, I’d love to hear about it. Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale—terrific, let’s have the details. Your dog is licking himself in an embarrassing place—probably an overshare.
#4. GPS golf yardage devices. Many of the old guys I play with haul these out before every shot they play. A hundred-fifty three yards to the front of the green, one-sixty four to the back, and one-fifty seven to the pin. I’ll eyeball the tall, white 150 yard stake and gauge one-fifty five to the hole. Here’s the question I always ask the GPS wielder. Will you use a different club based on the two yards difference between your GPS and my guestimate? I don’t know about you, but most of the people I play with are lucky to even strike the ball with the front of the club.
#3. Self-checkout devices at retail stores. Okay, okay, I agree, they’re handy sometimes and can save you time when you’re in a hurry. But every time I scan my own merchandise, I think “A human being used to do this.” Technology is wiping out jobs faster than we can graduate people from high school and college to start collecting unemployment. It’s a serious problem with serious consequences for the American (and worlds) way of life.
#2. The simpering voice that drones: Press one for English, press two if you know your parties extension, press three if you have an annoying rash on your rear end, press four if you can only count to three, press five if you’re considering setting fire to your telephone. I crave the sensation of calling a business and having an actual human being answer and ask how they might help me. Chances are, they’ve gained a customer for life. Part of this equation is the same concern as #3, but a huge part of it is feeling we’re losing our connection with each other.
#1. “Hello, I’m Farley Harquar, candidate for U.S. Senate and I just called to tell you how concerned I am about whatever it is you’re concerned about. I’m not sure what that is, but, you can be assured I’ll propose legislation to either outlaw it or make it mandatory if I’m elected.” I know, I know, you can hang up on robo-calls as soon as you realize what they are, but they still annoy me no end. If you’re going to intrude on my privacy, at least have the decency to hire a human being to read from an intelligence-insulting script. What puzzles me is the idea that automated sales calls work. On any level. Has anyone you know ever bought anything from somebody who robo-called them? Why do they keep doing it?
Okay, okay, I’ve vented. And, ironically (all of life is ironic, isn’t it?), this is going to be posted on our blog, to be read by people on the internet, or even on their hand held devices. Crap! I’ve just contributed to the problem.