A Grin at the End: Things I wish hadn’t been invented …

July, 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

carl-sampsonBy Carl Sampson

As a society, we are spoiled.

We are surrounded by gadgets and gizmos that are supposed to make our lives easier and, by inference, better.

The fact of the matter is, some have done that, and others haven’t. Some examples:

We could definitely do without nuclear weapons. I grew up at the height of the Cold War, and my dad was stationed at the Air Force Strategic Air Command Base closest to Cuban when Krushchev and Kennedy were playing brinkmanship with nuclear-tipped missiles. I remember the traffic jams caused by people leaving the area because they were sure the area would be the first to get nuked.

I also realize that the use of nuclear weapons saved the lives of a million U.S. troops when they were used in Japan to end World War II.

But these are different times, and it doesn’t make me feel any more secure to know that North Korea, Pakistan, China and Russia have those things pointed at us, or anyone else. We would all be better off without them.

Another item we could do very well without is the smart phone. When the cell phone first came along, I thought it was pretty terrific. I could call my wife to tell her I was running late at work or get a hold of any of the kids at anytime and tell them they were late and better get home ASAP.

But the advent of smart phones has turned nearly everyone I know into drones. They can’t sit for more than 2 minutes without pulling out their phones and checking messages, emails and other crap that, not too long ago, could wait.

The idea that a message or email is more important than the people sitting in the same room is annoying and rude. I’ve felt like grabbing people’s smart phones and flushing them down the toilet.

We’ve had to ban them at the dinner table in our house, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them disappear altogether.

Then there’s the Internet, which is turning the U.S. and much of the rest of the world into a real-life version of the movie Idiocracy. People take anything they see on the Internet as Gospel – only it’s not. They think “chem-trails”  – also known as condensation trails caused by planes traveling through humid air – are going to poison us and a conspiracy is going to turn the nation into a wild animal park. News flash: Tom Clancy already wrote the novel.

People swallow that stuff hook, line and sinker, and you’re supposed to sit there and listen politely to how your food is poisoned or something else that some idiot cooked up.

America has always loved conspiracy theories, and the Internet is the biggest conspiracy. It’s turning people dumber by foisting that stuff on them.

We as a civilization don’t necessarily need more facts. There are plenty of those. We need more wisdom. We need people who can take the facts at hand and determine a wise course that will benefit all of us as a society.

When a gadget or gizmo comes along that can do that, I’ll be first in line to buy one.

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