Friday, January 23, 2009

"Fried Fridays: What's in a word..."

Words. One of the poorest forms of communication, in the greater 'spiritual' scope of things. Nonetheless, we use them to communicate as best we can in this earthly 2-legged life.

Some seem to do it with excess. It's one thing to have that neighbor who won't shut up when they talk about everything under the sun. We know 'em, we've listened to 'em, they're out there, plenty of 'em.

Throw in the modern era of cell phones and text messaging, and we open a whole new can of worms, cans of constant cacophonies as text messages are tapped out, sent, and instantaneously delivered. The only difference is that speaking words is free...text messages are not so free. Even with affordable 'unlimited' texting plans, there's a hidden price to be paid...


Meet Rebecca Strimpel. Before I begin, keep in mind this is not an isolated story - there are others, and this isn't the worst case I've heard about. Luckily the Strimpels bought an unlimited texting plan to save them from the potentially thousands of shocking, unexpected dollars. There was another video story I saw a couple of weeks ago, where mom got a 200-page bill with a statement exceeding $1,000...but I couldn't dig up that info in written form to run with it.

Still, this story follows the same ideology that garners a "Fried Fridays" classification. Texting isn't inherently bad...lots of positive things about that technology. But just like eating too much cheesecake on a daily basis will help you blow up like a house, so, too, texting to excess has deleterious effects.

For her part of the household bill, Rebecca sent and received a mere (drumroll, please) 33,989 text messages in just one month (well, technically a 33-day billing cycle). A paltry average of only 1,030 texts EACH DAY. One thousand plus every 24 hours. For the sake of crunching numbers, I'll assume she sleeps 8 hours per day, on average. 1,030 texts in 16 hours makes for a frog hair over 64 texts an hour sent and/or received EVERY DAY.

Gimme a royal break...

In some respects you could wrap up the story a la Porky Pig, "Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!" and call it a silly, stupid day. Imagine the family angst for those without a text plan like the one I mentioned video snippet in that story showed the teen texting her girlfriend who was...get this...sitting beside her on the same couch as they watched TV. That's totally "fried" in about every way imaginable.

The idiocy of the 'bigger picture' is overwhelming. This isn't about me not understanding modern culture. This is about my half-century of experience seeing a sad situation for what it is: a further dumbing of America. I refer to 'dumbing' here as anything that makes people unaware of what's going on around them...a pseudo-blindness that takes an individual out of the present moment and makes them perfectly oblivious to what is happening under their very nose.

The video article per the Strimpel teen was even more disturbing as she talked about hiding her phone in her large open purse during class so she could continue texting without the teacher being aware of it. Texters of America, here my words: You can NOT be 'on your game' in an academic environment if you are constantly texting and diverting your attention. It's impossible. It ain't gonna happen, no way, no how. And it's astonishing to hear the number of people that do it say they can do both successfully, for they fool themselves in a sad way. (note: I was a science teacher for 9 years, so I speak from experience per my concern for a student's ability to pay attention and focus in class.)

In many respects it can become an its worst it can kill. Texting while driving is no less a no-no than drinking and driving.

Better step off my soap box before this becomes an all, be wary of how much 'cheesecake' you put in your brain and body. You CAN have too much of a good thing.

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