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.