Most everyone would agree that the most significant advancement in the history of civilization began with the discovery of fire, which, despite several fire-related societal setbacks, i.e. creating an atmosphere conducive to singing “Kumbaya,” provided us with a portable source of energy.
The second most notable achievement, were one to judge from our present circumstance, is not, 1. The generation of electricity; 2. Splitting the atom; 3. The creation of artificial intelligence (because we apparently don’t have enough of the regular kind to go around) but the advent of the cell phone.
I say this because of all the above, the cell phone is the only instrument of our self-destruction that we can carry around in our top pocket.
There was, for instance, that couple in Portugal who backed off a cliff recently while taking selfies against a background of, well, lots of open space. No one ever did that while building a fire.
In addition, most of us who view professional sports on television will note that two-thirds of the people at the event aren’t watching the action but are texting or something, thus risking being knocked into downtown Yahyahville by a rocketing line drive, errant pass, hooked golf ball, screaming hockey puck, etc.
I won’t even go into the driving-while-talking/texting issue (“Just in accident …” tappity-tap-tap … “gotta go”).
And finally, because my relatively new phone went kaflooey yesterday, which caused me to recognize how dependent I have become on this device and those associated with its use, including the company representative in charge of saying there could be a problem with whatever warranty you think you have.
This would be the same person in charge of explaining why, if your warranty does turn out to be valid, you will receive a used replacement phone because it’s “better than a new one.”
That’s because the replacement has been “hand-inspected by our own technicians” whereas those bright and shiny new ones are popped straight into a box without so much as a howdy-doo, or whatever the Chinese language equivalent of howdy-doo might be.
So now, in addition to paying large sums of money to be interrupted or annoyed at inopportune moments (“No, doctor, that did not make my phone ring. And that’s not funny anyway”) I not only get a used phone but also higher blood pressure.
I would happily merge the present with the past and drop the phone in a fire of my own making and subsequently live a long, happy and less complicated life, except … Oops, gotta go. CNN coming in on Twitter.