Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cell Phones Are Making Us Antisocial! Argh! Grrr!

I would like to dispel a myth here. Cell phones do not make people anti-social, or ruin family dinners, or keep us from our loved ones. Being an asshole does that.

I was eating at a restaurant with my wife the other day. A couple came in and sat down. She was thin as a rail and obviously pregnant. He was a big, burly guy. They looked pretty young, and could not have been married long.

They did not talk. Not once. Not to each other. In fact, they barely LOOKED at each other. They came in, ordered, ate, and left while my wife and I were still enjoying our weekly date together.

Another couple came in shortly after. Middle-aged or older, perhaps in their fifties or a bit older. He held her chair for her when she sat down. Right after ordering, they both whipped out their cell phones and began surfing, texting, etc.

The difference between this couple and the other? They talked. The whole time, they talked. They showed each other things on their screens, shared funny comments and texts they received, laughed, and had a great time. All while playing with those dreaded CELL PHONES that are destroying interpersonal relationships.

When I was young (born in 1970; do the math), we watched dinner in front of the TV. We barely spoke, unless something funny happened on-screen. After ward, I would go to my room and read, or listen to music. My mother would sit and smoke and watch TV. My father disappeared into the basement doing... whatever.

Before TV, there was radio. And newspapers. There have always been books. People are going to pay attention to one another or ignore each other depending on their personalities. I've watched older couples come into McDonald's, get a coffee, and then bury their noses in today's newspaper or a magazine, never communicating. I've watched a group of teens in the same location, all on their phones, talking and laughing and teasing one another.

In short, quit blaming cell phones for people being assholes. They are just assholes.

Friday, March 14, 2014

You Say It's Your Birthday (na-na-na-na-na-na)

It is currently 12:40am on (what is now) March 14th. My son's fourteenth birthday is today, which explains why he's still awake at this ridiculous hour. Not that he is disturbing me, mind you. I am a night owl by nature. As in, I stay up late, not a washed-up psuedo-superhero with a latex fetish.

Where was I? Oh, right. My son's birthday. As I have mentioned before, my youngest son is extremely tall for his age. He stands 6'3" at the moment. I assume. I haven't measured his height in a little while. Not out of laziness, but because it frightens me. The boy is a behemoth, the proverbial bull in a china shop. Every time he adjusts to his size, another growth spurt hits him like a ton of bricks, but without the subtlety. Then it's back to bumping into walls and furniture.

I mean, clumsy runs in his blood. On both sides, I hate to say. It's a wonder how two ridiculously klutzy people even managed to have two kids. Needless to say, both kids were a surprise. On top of this natural oafishness comes a body that just won't quit growing, and a mind thinking We're 14 years old. What's with the extra-long arms and legs, and really low ceiling fans? You see his dilemma.

Why is he so excited, then? He's getting his own laptop. Nothing too expensive, mind you. Until my book sales go up (hinthinthint), a refurbished Toshiba will have to do. But that's good enough for him. We may not be rich, but our kids appreciate the little things in life.

And to my son, EVERYTHING is a little thing.