Santa, Please Give Me Less Digital Stuff for Christmas!
by Jack Dermody
Once upon a time, like in the eighties, we all went gaga over computers. I couldn’t get over how easy it was to be a writer. No more erasing. No more redoing manuscripts. No more cutting and pasting – with scissors and snot-like paste.
Very few of us anticipated that we’d become addicted to tiny pads that held all our memories, all our friends, and all the stuff necessary to apply for a job, write a book, or buy a house.
But now as we face 2017, I’ve had enough.
I will take books off the shelf for the sole purpose of writing in their margins, just because I still can and, frankly, still should. I dust off an old Royal typewriter, type a letter to the first person who comes to mind, stick it in an envelope whose sealer I have to lick, then walk it to a mailbox a few blocks away. Why do I do this? To satisfy some need inside me. Taking these actions makes me feel something, really feel something. I am part of the world again, no longer just a creature beaming electrical pulses to “the public,” or maybe to outer space.
And I killed my TV. Rather, I killed broadcast TV and all cable evolutions of it. We recently moved into a new house and we told Cox Cable that we’d install the internet only. No hard line for a phone. No cable for the TV. And this was not about being cheap, mind you. We really do believe that the digital world of cable TV is an assault on our peace of mind. Most broadcast TV is a complete waste of time. And since the conclusion of the most horrifying Presidential election in the history of the world, I need to protect myself from seeing politicians – even listening to them – and to shield my very soul from the hordes of media trolls talking about them.
I re-subscribed to the paper version of the newspaper. I read what I want to, when I want to. If I want to watch sports, I’ll go to a sports bar. If I need the latest news right this second, okay, I’ll check my BBC and PBS apps on the smartphone.
So am I crazy? If this is crazy, bring on more decisions to cut and slash. It feels goooooood!
Jack Dermody is an expert on classic personality types; national group facilitator and corporate trainer; textbook author in linguistics and psychology; and author of Job Interviewers: Get Inside Their Heads. He is formerly published with Prentice-Hall, ELS Language Services.