PLEASE DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO


Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?” original sculpture & installation by KSR

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is changing around us, and doing so as we speak. A new faster must-have gadget comes on the market hourly. I’m sick of having to learn something new every week or so.

We have a new 55 inch TV in the family room which replaced a perfectly good 50″ one. The small TV in the kitchen gave up the ghost, so we went to the store to replace it, but came home with two new TV’s. Dr. Advice is ecstatic. The big one does things we don’t even need. It has a button that says “Smart” with a picture of a little house. It connects with an HD receiver, and the DVI to the HDMI connection. It connects to your mobile phone. You can even have a Magic Remote control. I don’t know what that is. We have 4-5 remote controls we can never find when needed now. They control Blu-Ray, VHS, surround sound, receiver, and something else I can’t remember. And the ironic thing about it that we don’t really watch TV! We watch PBS and movies. We get all the important stuff from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the lousy local rag. We suffer from information overload. I know this sounds dinosaurish, but one of the pluses of maturity is that your own collection of grey cells contains more than you will ever use in the way of information. The best thing about all of this is that none of it talks to you.

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Everyone around me seems to have the latest edition of computer, Smartphones, or whatever, and many of them talk to you. I don’t want a machine telling me what to do. My dear son-in-law was my guru and go-to guy for whatever was new in the tech world. I didn’t need a talking cellphone or computer. My current cell phone calls in and calls out. That’s all I need it to do. Two of our grandchildren, aware of his store of knowledge had a secret saying whenever things could or might go wrong, “WWUDD?” Which meant: “What would uncle Dick do?”

He was in on the birth of modern technology forty plus years ago, and knew what made them all tick inside and out. Everyone over the age of 50 needs to keep friends at least 20 years younger. Better yet, if you get stuck, call a seven year old. Several nights ago a group of intelligent 40-60 year olds, had trouble removing something from the screen of an iPhone. Our seven year old great-granddaughter took it and after one touch of her finger, she calmly handed it back and said “There ya go.” As she turned away she muttered “I can’t believe you didn’t know how to do that!” One of life’s embarrassing moments.

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Several years ago, grocery stores began offering the option of “Self-Serve” stations, so that you can slip your card in and check out your own groceries by clicking the appropriate space on the lighted screen. If you make a mistake, it throws a fit and tells you to call for help. Once that’s done, you place the already checked items on a lower platform and continue. If you place anything, even a paper bag on the platform too the machine yells loudly to get it OFF! When through checking, you click “Finish and Pay”. It refuses to move until you tell them if you brought your own bag. After you’re through it yells “Please remove your groceries!” in a frantic voice. Heck, I haven’t even had time to put my wallet back in my purse.

The annoying voice on my GPS when we take a direction she didn’t tell us to, disgustedly tells us that she is “Relocating!” Sometimes we change directions just to tick her off.

All of which says “please don’t tell me what to do”! I like to make my own mistakes and discoveries thank you. Better yet, try making things simpler like the old “on-off” button our radios used to have, and we won’t need an instruction manual for every new thing you invent each week.

TO THE CLASS OF 2013


graduation
cartoon courtesy of wall street journal

Dear Graduates:

“You’re pampered, privileged and oversexed–but at least your employment prospects are dim.”

This was the opening message from Rob LaZebnik in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. LaZebnik is probably correct about the difficulty of employment in these times. But there are many things you can do to fill in the free time you will have. Go to the beach, watch a movie, tweet, write a blog, or maybe hunker down in grad school. Maybe employment opportunities will improve in another four years.

Many activities take place within that precious group sitting so upright, serious and attentive, whether on a football field or indoors on bleachers. Are they really listening to the speech so carefully prepared and presented by some impressive person, and designed to instill a desire for excellence in their futures? Maybe some are, and everyone will take away some memory of the day, whether it will be the heat, the passing of the marijuana, bong, or just undercurrent horseplay. Ten years ago, my granddaughter had her little dog in her lap, which she passed to a friend when she went up to claim the coveted sheepskin. After all, the little dog had achieved degrees in both French and Communication during the past four years of his attendance with her at the University of Washington.

Seriously, the graduates of today are probably well-prepared for the challenges their chosen fields will bring. In a short four years they have become thinking adults and the skills and friendships they have formed will guide them through these difficult times. “Thinking” is the key word. They have learned to think for themselves which may be worth all the thousands of dollars their parents have invested in them.

I would advice them to ignore all the clich├ęs of the typical commencement speech and do what their generation does best: get lucky.

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE


daniel Pearl “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”

These were among the last words of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, murdered by terrorists. “I am Jewish” was more than just an affirmation of a simple fact. “I am Jewish” meant “My life has meaning and nothing you do will strip that away from me. Even if my life ends now, I have served a purpose.”

The parents of Daniel Pearl, Mr. & Mrs. Judea Pearl, when working on a book of essays inspired by Daniel’s last words, commissioned over 300 prominent Jews to reflect on what the phrase “I am Jewish” meant to them.

I think it is a question all of us could ask ourselves. What profound belief gives your life meaning? Years ago, while playing a parlour game, we were all asked to describe ourselves. My friend quickly answered “I am Catholic”. When I asked her why she answered in that way, she said that everything she had or was, stemmed from her Catholic faith. I have always heard that Joan of Arc’s last words were “Vive la France”!

I think Daniel Pearl’s very important legacy was to serve a purpose in life. Rest in peace Daniel Pearl.

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE


“I have never been in a discussion where people said ‘I only wish we had nore time to talk about the weather/sports/gossip’ But, given the need to find common topics for discussion, these are some of the easiest common denominators to find.”

Quote by Dan Ariely, Wall Street Journal