IMHO

 The Prompt: IMHO–Link to an item in the news you’ve been thinking about lately, and write the op-ed you’d like to see published on the topic.

IMHO

I gave up reading the news years ago. I just got too depressed when I did so. Certainly, stories filter through and then I hear the pertinent details or look them up online, but gone for me are days spent listening to and watching repetition after repetition of the same facts, many later found to be untrue or exaggerated.

So, this prompt is one that sent me out into the news Internet, looking for a story. The first one that came up was of the French pilot who it seems deliberately sent his plane careening into the Alps, killing everyone on board. Then I found a story about Korean twins, separated at birth, who never even knew of each other’s existence but who found each other over Facebook. Then a story about a woman who transforms abandoned Bratz dolls that look like hookers back into dolls that look like little girls.

Then back to President Obama’s Iran negotiations, a small girl born with two heads, The Voice finals in Australia, a letter of thanks gone viral, written by the mother of an autistic child to a businessman who had put away his papers and played with his seatmate for the 2 ½ hour flight. I flipped through dozens of other stories on the way: about the royal family, dogs, cats, a cow furnished with prosthetic legs and saved from slaughter. This hodgepodge was heartwarming, heartshattering, overwhelming, and two hours later, I had still not chosen a news report to write an op ed piece on.

I guess, instead, I will write it on how the internet seems to be substituting for our lives. This flood of information furnishes the vicarious existence once limited to The Soaps: The Edge of Night, Another World, General Hospital. I still remember the day Joan Lenzi came running into our room in college, tears streaming, shouting “Laura died, Laura died!” My heart flipped over in dread as my mind searched madly for a mutual friend named Laura, only to discover, once Joan had collected herself a bit, that a character on our favorite Soap had just departed our after-lunch afternoon.

No more skipping Astronomy to experience the next vicarious thrill. Without Laura, who was Luke? With no further excuses to skip, I dropped Astronomy, insuring the necessity to attend summer school to catch up.

Now it is harder to avoid excuses. When one internet heroine or villain passes from sight, there are ten thousand others to take their place. Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, OkCupid, Match.Com, Christian Singles, Pinterest, Blogster—ad infinitum. There is so much to fill our lives and furnish excuses for what we don’t want to do that it is no longer really necessary for us to assemble a life around ourselves at all. So long as we can somehow manage to feed, clothe and house ourselves, the rest is available online.

When I suffered a debilitating migraine lately, the first to know it were internet friends. My Skype near-romance phoned my oldest friend, now rarely communicated to other than through Skype or online Scrabble games. She talked me down from a near-panic attack and I eventually fell asleep. The next morning I wrote about it (Here) and had a flood of sympathetic comments from blogging friends. Another friend who lives in the town where I live Facebooked me the name of a medication that might forestall future headaches. No neighbor arrived on my doorstep with chicken soup or offered to feed the dogs, but cyber friends gathered round, giving me that warm feeling formerly reserved for a down comforter.

I had to look up IMHO before I wrote my response to this prompt. It’s a term often used in the past by my Skype near-romance. But every time, I forget this initial-speak. It’s as though life has been shortened enough. Emails have become Tweets and emoticons have replaced phrases of opinion, affection, disgust or frustration. Hyperlinks replace restatements and hashtags replace the social organizations where we used to gather for coffee or a coke and a good old-fashioned in-person gab session.

In my humble opinion, everything is finally short enough. If we become any smaller, we are going to implode. Computers now fit in the palm of one’s hand and I’ve heard of technology where one day they will be implanted into our eyeballs and transmitted to our brains. At that point, what do we become other than human robots? Perhaps it is all a plot by the machines of the world to be the next step of our evolution. Perhaps what the most far-out science fiction writer once imagined has become our world. In my humble opinion, we have gone far enough. We are able to know too much by doing too little. Experience too much by doing nothing at all. The time has come where observing life is more interesting than making it happen. Time to stop!!! But that is just “my humble opinion,” expressed as a full statement—railing out against this too-short world.

Note: Once more, my NaPoWriMo and Daily Prompt subjects seems to have intersected, so to read my other short post today, go HERE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/imho/

22 thoughts on “IMHO

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 4: Internet Appetizers | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  2. alphabetstory

    We have dwindled our communication down to the barest essential. LOL! I’m reminded of that every time (shamefully) I click “Like” instead of leaving something meaningful in the comments. But I do that sometime when I’m pressed for time, and I accept likes in the spirit in which they were left. Emoticon here.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha…I’ve never figured out how to do emoticons on WordPress. They are great on Skype, though…they really do express emotions and thoughts…Never thought I’d say that. I do appreciate it that you so frequently comment, ABC.

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  3. ann oneal garcia

    “we are able to know too much by doing too little…” and other profound ideas and musings. I loved the “Laura is dead!” part, too. Mrs. Hentze, gram O’Neal’s neighbor rushed over to Gram’s house one day to scream, “Your granddaughter’s on TV.” Gram looked shocked. She’d just seen me. She came to discover that Hentze was excited because Arthur Godfrey had read my letter to him on TV and said, “Well, now, isn’t that sweet?” (Had he known me!!!) In ref. to above comments, I never thought I’d be saying omg, or lol, or wtf. I especially like the last one. We are acclimating, like it or not.

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  4. Martha Kennedy

    I’ve been working on starting some kind of flowering stuff in my yard. A neighbor came over to meet me — she’s very nice and came originally from ‘Stralia. I like the online stuff I do, but standing in the spring sun talking to a person was very satisfying and fun.

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  5. alhowlinwater

    I feel so stupid sometimes, I’m so out of touch I often have to look up definitions of acronyms. I feel a little like I did when someone was referred to as NCOIC when I was.in the military we changed that to MFWI?

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      1. alhowlinwater

        I celebrated by going shopping with a friend then dinner and drinks! The drinks I like. Strawberry Margaritas on the rocks!

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  6. kvennarad

    By way of a ‘minority report’.

    It is a matter of philosophical debate as to whether I (using myself as an individual example) am the same person, the same conscious entity, that I was when I was a child; maybe even that I was as recently as yesterday. How much more may it be true that human society has changed as often and as radically? Certainly the life we live today is as alien as the one envisaged by science fiction writers of the fifties, but we don’t go around in flying cars and we don’t have colonies on Mars. What we do have is an unprecedented pace of change driven by technology. Modernist composer Karlheinz Stockhausen said: “New means change the method, new methods change the experience, new experience changes man.” Should we be scared about the pace, about the change, about the shortening of communication? I think the latter is driven by the expansion of the experience, which in its turn is driven by the expansion of the technology. The circumstances we find ourselves in actually demand this brevity. But don’t worry; language, as an exemplar of our changing lives, is a robust and dynamic thing, and we claim at our peril that it has achieved a perfectly evolved state. It hasn’t and never will. I said of language in a recent article: “It is at the same time a natural thing with a life of its own, which twists in our hands as we try to grasp it, and on the other hand a far-from-neutral political tool in the same hands. It is a child still, and children steadfastly refuse to grow up in our own image.” But boy-oh-boy does it grow! I predict that new structures will be built / will build themselves on the present shorthand IT-speak. As a poet (the first to actually publish a poem in ‘captcha’) I can hardly wait! I can hardly wait to contribute to the building.

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  7. lifelessons Post author

    Did you really publish a poem in captcha and if so, how did you do so and may I see it? (Aha…never mind. I found it and now understand it is assembled from found captcha words.) You make some valid points, and I appreciate your patience in presenting them since they are the opposite of the rapid-fire communication of the tweet and the sound bite. Have you heard of weathergrams? We used to write brief poems on strips of paper bags and hang them from trees to weather away. A bit in line with some of your wonderful poetry allowed to nature away…I enjoy your posts and comments. Thanks for reading my posts with such attention that you have so much to say about them. It’s nice to let our thoughts be known, but two-way communication such as that which you have furnished here is even better. –Judy

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  8. koehlerjoni

    While change is the only constant, I wonder what will happen if some crisis forces the world (or large parts of it) off the grid and we must function without the reality to which we’ve grown so accustomed. I can’t help but think we should be doing more to prepare the generations for this eventuality.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I absolutely agree. Have you seen a TV show named Revolution? I only watched part of one season, but it was a world where this had happened..and as you can imagine, it was easily taken over by this means. I do worry about a generation that has never functioned without adding machines and computers. One that no longer even writes by its own hand…at least long hand. Perhaps people feared the same when the typewriter appeared, but one can’t put a typewriter in his pocket and carry it along!

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