Me too. Mine usually comes during early morning hours. Often the wee morning hours. Zero dark thirty from my past life. But that’s okay. I’m grateful for that time. Glorious silence except for the soothing sounds from the coffee pot. Meditation with just a little caffeine. But it’s only good for me if I don’t open one of my too many electronic devices to email, news, and the evil of our day – social media.
Sometimes not so social. It’s a nice tool for keeping contact with physical friends and family rather than purely cyber ones. Although many of the cyber friends, minus a potential serial killer or two, present as decent people. But even they, especially family, often violate the TMI rule. To much information. Stuff I really do not want or need to know. Personal aspects of life flying off the keyboard, often in anger, for an untold number of people to read. Thoughts they’d never speak out loud. At least not before a crowd. A crowd of potentially millions.
And you get lost in it. Scrolling through. Facebook coma. 99% of it wasted time. You share things that returns to you f-bomb laced tirades or multiple frowny faces. People obsessed with who or what they hate including you. And they’ll hate your guts based on one comment and then wear out the keyboard just dying for the last maniacal little word jab right in your eye.
And just accept it. If you’re in social media, you’ve forfeited privacy. Because the data miners (which at its core is what social media is) know more about you, your family and friends than you can even remember. Ponder the profile they are able to build based on captured data. It is truly frightening. And imagine, not long ago we were worried about the Patriot Act. Then we just gave it all away. Our privacy that is. No one, even the feared government has to search very hard for it.
We are so addicted to our devices, connections, and the Internet 99.9% of us could never truly get off the grid. Just disappear. Drones. Facial recognition. Cameras everywhere you look. It’s like the story about capturing wild pigs. Add a new piece of fence each day until they are hopelessly trapped. And here we are.
People have panic attacks when they forget their phones. How many of us could give up our phones, the Internet, electricity, computerized cars, plumbing and hot showers, or grow our own food? Could we travel anywhere without the GPS? Nope. We’re deader than old Marley. And he was deader than a door nail.
Then there’s email
Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Lovely Spam! Lovely Spam! – Monty Python Spam Song
No matter how well you prepare, you’re inundated with spam. All of it offering to make you wealthy, healthy and wise including millions of dollars from your long-lost relative who’s a Nigerian Prince. Or, let us extend your car warranty. On the one you traded away three cars ago. Improve your sexual performance, grow hair, remove hair, increase your stamina and muscle mass. Heck, you can be better than you were when you were forty. I can’t remember 40, so I could never disprove it.
The government that was going to stop robocalls was also going to stop spam. This is where you post the hysterically laughing faces. Then you see the email that isn’t spam, but you don’t want to open it. Because if you do, you’ll feel obligated to answer. Save it for a week or two, open and then apologize for missing whatever it was you missed. If it was a domestic brawl of some sort, you probably read about it on Facebook already. And if you want to develop an email list with several thousand of your dearest friends on it, someone will report your IP address to spam central. Then you’ll have the privacy you dreamed of. And less email. We could revert to smoke signals, but then the environmentalists would want us censored. How do smoke signals work anyway? Not the kind of smoke you buy over the counter in Boulder. Seriously. How do you do it without setting the blanket on fire. If you’re too young to remember Red Rider and the Lone Ranger, you have no idea what I’m talking about
And we have the news to deal with
Never look at it first thing in the morning. It will ruin your whole day. Maybe week. If you hate someone, some thing, or some anything, you can find a supposed news show that will pump up your anger. Play you like a Stradivarius. Get you fired up for confrontation. You’ll want a black ski mask and bear repellant.
Have you noticed how lazy journalism has become? You’ll see enticing click bait headlines only to be met with a string of Twitter tweets. And this is what he said. This is what he said. He’s just an #%&*! I no longer care about what people post on Twitter. Especially the ignorant, stupid and profane who somehow never manage to get banned.
On alleged news programs, I hear people, supposedly intelligent people, talking in monotones and ums and ahs and think, that is about the stupidest thing I’ve heard come out of someone’s mouth. And they’re getting paid to say it.
I stopped trusting the news. My Dad made sure I grew up on Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. It could be because we could only get one clear television channel back of the holler. As I aged, I continued to watch John Chancellor and later Tom Brokaw. 60 Minutes was once my favorite television news program. Chris’s daddy Mike made it a habit of doing reports on the military that were a bit negative in my view. Even as a young Soldier not yet committed to a career.
In the latter years, doing some research I learned that people like Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in the news” didn’t always get it right. Specifically, his reporting on the North Vietnamese 1968 Tet Offensive. For the record, Tet of 1968 was a major military defeat for the North Vietnamese, yet the most trusted man in news reported to Americans from Saigon that the war was lost. His trustworthiness helped turn the American public and politicians against the war. It’s said Cronkite’s report is the reason Lyndon Johnson did not run for reelection. But worse than that, militarily defeated North Vietnam rejuvenated by anti-war efforts in America and pumped up media misreporting continued to hold on. They were losing on the battlefield while winning in America. When Cronkite and others misrepresented the outcome of Tet 1968, US casualties were near 37,000. The war could have ended then, yet more than 21,00 more Americans died. I do not need another reason to mistrust the news. All of it.
Did not mean to end my pleasant light rant on a downer, but as Uncle Walter used to sign off, “And that’s the way it is” in 2020 America.
© 2020 J. D. Pendry, All Rights Reserved