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Jim Walker: Let’s turn off, tune out and drop in

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: April 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 


So, I put on the TV news the other morning, and the first thing I saw was video clips of brutes smacking women around and stealing their smartphones. And I learned that the FCC and the major wireless carriers in the U.S. have agreed to create a central database of stolen cellphones in an effort to reduce their resale value and, therefore, cut down on the appeal of phone theft.

Hey, that’s greeeat.

But, you see, I had the original solution: Don’t own a smartphone.

I have seen numerous friends of mine struggle mightily for numerous hours, only to fail to master their latest and increasingly expensive cellular monstrosities and the many “vital” functions encumbering them (you know, such as Team Tiddlywinks).

Just this past week, when I visited San Francisco, it seemed everyone on the crowded sidewalks and buses had such a phone attached to his or her twitching palm — and it occurred to me that the “flower children” have been replaced by automatons and techno-nerds, sucking evermore addictive and mind-rotting data from the Matrix.

“Curmudgeon,” you say?

Maybe. But maybe it’s time to get off the download, my friends.

If any of you remember or have seen it on the History channel, “turn on, tune in, drop out” was a counterculture phrase popularized by Timothy Leary in 1967. It urged people to embrace cultural changes through the use of psychedelics and by detaching themselves from the existing conventions of society.

Herein, I propose we do the same thing again —  only this time with probiotics instead of psychedelics. And this time we will swim against the social current by throwing our smartphones … well, into the current.

Let’s all turn off, tune out and drop in.

Turn off the phones, tune out the noise and drop into something … anything … meaningful.

If it isn’t printed on paper, don’t read it.

If it doesn’t make you smarter or healthier or make the world a better place, don’t waste time doing it.

Let’s get our faces out of our laps and look at the horizon. We just might see something beautiful, such as the huge parrot I saw riding that guy’s shoulder on the bus in San Fran. I mean, those with their eyes on their phones weren’t even aware of it until it squawked so loud they heard it through their earbuds.

I, on the other hand, saw it in time to move out from under its tail, if you know what I mean.

At the very least, we’ll all be a lot safer if we are scanning our surroundings instead of staring stupidly at some little screen in our hands — safer from trips and falls, safer from collisions with cars, and safer from those guys who want to steal our phones.

Home is the place for watching TV screens, people. There, as in the good old days, we can “interact” with family members while we argue over which sitcom rerun to watch, or who lost the remote.

There, we can learn the nuances of popular culture by watching such uplifting entertainment as “Jersey Shore.” And there, we can liquor-up and come to blows because someone won’t shut up during “Law & Order.”

Will going tech-less leave us behind in the information age? Of course, it will. Those who stay plugged in will gain a tremendous advantage over the rest of us and, eventually, they will use us as a food source.

But really, except for the ending, would that life be so bad? We’d be dumb and happy, chewing our cuds and watching the scenery go by, thinking deep thoughts, composing romantic poetry and imagining cloud characters — with absolutely no worries or stress.

And no app is gonna give you that.

Drop the phones and back away, my friends.

Comment at jwalker@the-signal.com or at http://Twitter.com/DontSeriously

And to illustrate Walker's point here, check out the linked videos...

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