Capture the Flag

I originally wrote this post in 2011. I fear the issue has only gotten worse. 


Right now, the TV is on, but Shelby and I are each working on our laptops – in the same room, but somewhere else. I glance at the TV screen during a commercial (they are designed to be more interesting than the shows and, let’s be honest, the shows are only good enough to hold our attention until the commercials). Anyway, the TV and laptops did not come on until after my son was in bed and I even went on an evening walk. We spent most of the day outside, so this is not a story about how I think our digital tech use is unbalanced (sometimes it is, but certainly not today).

No, this is a story about a memory I have. I remember playing capture the flag at my friend D.J.’s farm. We would climb fences, army crawl through tall grass, run, dive, trip, fall, get whipped in the face by tree branches, climb trees, etc. We’d camp out by the river on his property, swim in the water at midnight, and enjoy the outdoors. I remember once being in enemy territory when two opponents came around a corner. Taking cover in tall grass, I lied quietly hoping to not be discovered. Then, one of my opponents (standing just above me) noted he needed to urinate (in not so clean terms). I was faced with a decision. Get urinated on, or surrender…

So, what does this have to do with the TV and television commercials? The commercial I just saw had children playing in a field. Yet, this was different, each child was equipped with a digital mobile device and following on-screen directions. Our commercials may be the single greatest cultural commentary available. I don’t wish I had these devices when I was younger, I’m very glad I didn’t.

PS. When telling Shelby the urination story she said 1) I should have used the word “pee” & 2) the decision to be made (get peed on or surrender) could be metaphorical. I think it applies well to questioning technology or jumping on the bandwagon – because criticizing technology in today’s culture can lead to getting urinated on.

This entry was posted in Critical Examination of Technology, Throwback Thursdays. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Capture the Flag

  1. becky1129 says:

    First and most importantly, I agree with your wife on the pee/urinate debate.

    Second, I agree with your post in sentiment but am not sure how applicable those sentiments are today. It sounds like I grew up in a different environment than you–more urban, with commuter trains and freight trains constantly running a few doors down from our house, but also with a baseball field and library in easy walking distance for even a 7 year old. We still kept ourselves busy playing tons of outdoor games. My favorites were capture the flag and dodge ball (and a one-man version called SPUD). We spent hours running with our neighbors, hopping fences, retrieving balls, and yelling “Car!” when cars turned down our street. I’m also glad I didn’t grow up in the digital age.

    But what about these kids who are? Can we expect them to always be disconnected? We struggle to keep our kids away from the TV and off the video games, too. Earlier today, I yelled down to my kids, “Turn off the games and get your coats on. I’m kicking you out to the backyard!” (maybe I’m not an ideal parent, but they’re used to me). So yes, we work to get our kids to disconnect, and I feel sad/wistful that I have to be the one who suggests to the kids that they go play outside. But now to my point. Perhaps the future is in marrying the tech world with outdoor adventure for kids. Pokemon Go is a fun app for families. We go on family walks to capture Pokemon. What if kids can eventually set up capture-the-flag battlegrounds using an app? Or use some sort of map-making software to track their adventures along rivers, or something else equally creative? Looking back on fairly recent history, parents have been appalled at kids reading comic books and watching TV. Those things still haven’t gone away. I don’t think smart devices will, either. Maybe it’s time we use them to get kids outdoors. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • jerridkruse says:

      I agree they aren’t going away, but I don’t think that is sufficient rationale to use them all the time. Guns aren’t going anywhere, but I’m still not going to carry one. Maybe an extreme example, but I think we can think beyond our technologies and suspect, given your preamble, that you agree.


  2. becky1129 says:

    Also, I’m noticing the end of this story is suspiciously absent. That’s probably a good call. It leaves the possibility open that you didn’t get “urinated” on.

    Liked by 1 person

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