I thought I could control it. “I can shut this off any time I want,” I would tell my wife. But I never did. When phones merged with laptops, my life changed and I didn’t even know it.
I recall conversations at the Pentagon years ago when smart people told us that would happen. “One day,” they said, “phones, email, and the internet will all be found on one platform.”
I didn’t believe them.
They were right. Now that “one day” is here, I can’t put the little bugger down. I feel compelled to keep checking it in case an important text message or email arrives. Maybe there is an emergency and someone needs to call. And with the world being what it is, a person can never be too caught up on the news.
When the little tone rings that announces a new communique has come in, I am like Pavlov’s dog except instead of salivating, I rush to read the note. I guess I salivate a little too.
I didn’t realize I had a problem until just the other day when my wife and I both forgot to bring our phones with us to church.
After a brief panic, we felt a strange sense of exhilaration. We were free. We had escaped the matrix, gone off the grid. It was a wonderful, empowering moment for both of us.
That lasted until we got home, rushed in the door and wrapped our trembling hands around our devices, checking for emails.
Here are two Public Service Announcements from Easter Seals Dixon Center that really capture the spirit of today’s Veterans…with a touch of humor added in.
This one is my favorite…
For you youngsters out there, there is a great movie from the 60s called “2001 A Space Odyssey” that you should watch. It is a classic.
While you are watching, you will notice something is missing.
Not all paper, mind you. They still have paper photographs and such, but most of it is gone. That was supposed to be in 2001. This is 2014 and despite cell phones, computers, and email, paper is still with us. By comparison, if you watch space movies set in the distant future, there is not a sheet of documentation to be found. None.
We have some work to do.
If we are ever going to go paperless, we really should get started. Because right now, it is everywhere. And it’s not just in the military. I have been out of uniform for a few years now, and my desk is piled high with the stuff.
Mecca for paperwork, of course, has to be the Pentagon. Not only does correspondence pile up, it never goes away. I am sure that there are reports still in circulation that were written on manual typewriters during the Korean War.
Maybe we have a problem discarding things with which we have become comfortable. There is some truth in the theory that reading a traditional newspaper is more soothing than reading the news off a website, so perhaps our aversion to reducing documentation is related to that.
Maybe, but one thing is certain. To get rid of paper so that we can be like those dudes in the space movies, we need to be willing to shed our old habits and move forward.
Starting with my desk.
Open the trash can lid, Hal.
Well, I got challenged by three buddies (one of them was also a brother) to do the challenge, and here it is (the challenge videos follow in case you need proof). My charity of choice is the Wyakin Warrior Foundation.
Here are the three challenges…first, is from Rick Kirkman of Baby Blues:
Other challenge videos from:
(In case you were wondering, I also donated to ALS.)
There are only a few times in life when you are privileged to witness something few people get to see, and so it was on a recent USO trip to SW Asia. I chose the word privileged because that was the overwhelming feeling I had watching the young men and women who represent us in remote, hostile locations on the other side of the world.
The are proud and confident. They are the kind of people you want your children to become when they grow up. They go about their jobs without complaint, without questioning the politics or military orders that took them away from their families to a desolate and dangerous part of the world. Thousand of miles from home, I felt an overwhelming pride in America, because that is what they are. They are America.
Thank you for the privilege.