Writins of Weakeyes Cody
Talented and witty writings
Disgracebook @ 2011
If you have "friends" whom you have never laid eyes on or shared oxygen with, chances are you are living in a technology cocoon. Today there are millions of people living within these self-constructed bubbles. For them, social interaction is posting a grammatically questionable opinion on a message board or joining an online group dedicated to a common pursuit. Well how about pursuing that little thing called life? Take a walk and interact with real people for a change. These cocooners have mastered the art of independent togetherness. They occupy the same space as others, but adamantly refuse to engage the environment surrounding them. Bopping to their iPods, with their glazed eyes fixed on laptop screens, they are oblivious to the world around them. They are constantly "connected" but disconnected from the people and things that matter most. The frequency and intensity with which they monitor their incoming texts would lead you to believe that they had the overnight shift at NORAD. But they're really just cocooners who take up space at Starbucks all day, updating their Facebook profiles and twitter pages, their earbuds plugged into a mystery device.
Maybe you know someone like this and want to bust him out of this unnatural environment for a real social encounter - maybe dinner or drinks. Good luck. Socializing with a cocooner can be like eating with a member of that Amazonian tribe you saw featured last night on National Geographic Channel. Actually, that's underestimating the tribesmen's capacity for human interaction. Since cocooners spend half the evening eyeing their cell phones, you start to feel as if there were three of you at the table. You spy him tapping out messages underneath the table while he pretends to be listening to what you're saying. "Uh huh . . . .wow . . . cool." With half his limited mental abilities devoted to his digital companion, these are the only comments he can make. Problem is, you just told him that your dad died three weeks ago of lung cancer.
Too many of those who grew up in the technology cocoon can text at the speed of light, but they are losing the ability to read verbal and physical cues. This should not be surprising. When you spend more time gazing at your iPod than into the eyes of another human being, what do you expect? Cocooners socialize on computers, watch entertainment on computers, listen to music on computers, take pictures with computers, and generally experience all of life through devices big and small. We have spawned an entire generation of tech zombies, people for whom Facebook, Second Life, texting, and web surfing have supplanted real life. Never in human history have so many replaced so much with so little.
I am not going where my grandson is going. Conversely he will never see what I have seen. Still, I want so to pull him into my life and let him look down the sights of a Winchester to bring down an elk or deer and skin it out for supper. I want to let him guide a boat along a river to see what's beyond that bend. I want him to ride a horse at full gallop across a meadow and feel the wind in his face. I want him to gather corn, shock wheat, shake peanuts, and dig potatoes so he can know where his food comes from. I want him to know and understand what a miracle this great nation is among nations. That we have taken wheat and corn and our natural resources and made them larger and more abundant to help feed and comfort millions elsewhere on this earth and that we owe no one an apology for being what we are today and that the blood of our people has been shed again and again for our sake and the sake of others. That we have more than earned the right to bask in the sunlight of our diminishing freedom. I want him to know that he has the right to argue the origin of man with anyone and to be proud when he looks atop that staff to see the stars and stripes waving, for my son it waves for thee and for me.
And still, I wonder if and when he hears the band strike up a John Phillip Sousa piece, he will ever get the same stir in his innards that I do? Or maybe after all these many years I should just go wrap myself in a cocoon? I should take some comfort in that. But my father didn't. And my grandfather didn't. And my great grandfathers fought with General U.S. Grant. And General Robert E. Lee. And we can watch it all from the comfort of our chairs this evening or view it on our I-pods and remember.
~ Weakeyes Cody 2011