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T. GAMBLE: Everyone's caught in the (Inter)net

OPINION: Some 'great inventions' could be done without

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

The 9-year-old Hurricane boy was busy once again filling my world with useless trivia.

“Daddy did you know this animal, or that animal, can breathe under water for 10 days, or have 50 babies every two days so on and so forth?” He will often announce, “Here is another bit of totally useless information …” I think he heard his mother say that about most everything I ever tell her.

He reads everything and retains most of it. He hears everything I say and if he does not retain it all, he sure as you-know-what retains all the stuff that I never want repeated. He once was at a birthday party and looked at me, saying, “I don’t think Ms. ——- is fat as a cow.” This would have been fine except Ms. ——- was standing right beside me.

In fairness, he was only about 4 then, but I think he’d still do it, if given the chance.

So, he says as we are riding back from church, “Dad, did you know there was a man in the late 1800s that said everything worth inventing had already been invented?”

I nodded yes, being vaguely aware that some guy that was head of the patent office in the 1890s said such a thing. Even in 1890, apparently the government was incompetent.

“Boy, that guy was an idiot. If he was right, we would not even have cars,” said the 9-year-old boy genius.

I agreed.

He then said, “Imagine, Dad, a world without computers or cell phones.”

I said, “Son, I used to live in that world.”

I could have added and I’d like to go back to it right now.

I confess cell phones have their place and computers bring us gobs of information. But they have now taken over the world. If you play golf, ask yourself when was the last time you played a round when someone did not have to break from the group to answer the phone? Have we become so connected and so important that you can’t even play a three-hour round of golf without having to be up to date on business, the wife’s grocery list, or buddies latest late night escapade?

The average American would rather be boiled in oil than attend a movie without their cell phone.

“There could be an emergency, you know.” Yeah, and so what? Are you an EMT? I suspect the world will keep turning for the two hours it takes for the movie to play and just once I’d like it to turn without someone being on their cell phone before the thing is over.

Computers … they were designed to increase our efficiency and give us more leisure time. Well, they sure as heck did that. The average worker now spends 90 minutes a day on Facebook.

Thank God we have this valuable tool to benefit society. Without Facebook I would not know that you had a bad day yesterday, that lemons are now two for one at Publix or that Susie got drunk at the beach, entered a wet t-shirt contest, posted it on her account and forever destroyed her chances for a good job, decent husband or pleasant Thanksgiving holiday with the family.

You can now look up anything on computer and learn anything you want. You want to believe in Werewolves? Sure enough, there is a site that will tell you they exist.

Believe Elvis killed Kennedy? Probably out there somewhere.

Think we come from aliens? There is a whole group of sites just for that — and some of them are not Nancy Pelosi’s.

We are fast becoming the most educated group of idiots in the history of mankind. Recently someone posted a video of Steven Spielberg killing a triceratops. Never mind that a triceratops is a dinosaur extinct for millions of years. Many people were outraged that he would “hurt an innocent animal, etc.”

Yes, folks actually contacted authorities and complained.

I long for the day when you had to write someone a letter and then wait seven days before they replied that you were an idiot, unlike now where they email me back within minutes that I am an idiot. I need a few days to prepare for such things, but in our instant society it is all “wham, bam, thank you, m’am.”

I know things will never be like they were, but I can always dream. So for the next few days I’ll be busy sending telegrams, handwriting notes, and wishing that ol’ 1890s guy had sort of been right.

Email columnist T. Gamble at wtg@colliergamble.com.