Something odd started happening this week.
I started to get an unusually high number of "friend" requests on Facebook.
Normally, I get two or three requests a week, usually from people who portray themselves as supermodel beauties with an extremely short timeline, and a birthplace and current location separated by about a third of a globe. I delete them and report them as spam, after I look at the pictures.
But most of the requests I have received recently have been from people with yellow vest stuff in their profiles, or hilarious photos of Justin Trudeau clowning around while serious shit is happening.
Anyway, along with all of the "friend" requests, my smartphone started beeping to the point of annoyance. (I had to correct that from "slamrphone." Maybe I'm getting too old for this shit.) So I decided to fish around in the settings to turn off notifications from Facebook. I found the right page and turned Facebook notifications off.
You probably already know what happened next. The phone kept on beeping at me with Facebook "friend" request notifications.
Given that I don't use Facebook at all on my spa... smartphone, I decided I would just delete the app altogether and find peace. Well, guess what? There was no "uninstall" option for Facebook. I selected "force stop" instead.
"Got you now!" I thought, quite satisfied with myself. Peace at last.
Like fuck it was. The phone kept on beeping.
"I'll show you" I said to the phone. "I'll do a factory reset!"
By this point, I was a bit angry. You should never act on impulse when you're angry. I was like mayor Eisenberg trying to kill a fly in his office, wait... no that was Heisenberg trying to kill a fly in his lab.
You end up doing stupid shit. Like clicking on "accept" when you get to the warning about all of your stored data being erased. I gave it a quick thought. "Naw, there's nothing really important on here." My main use of the phone is as a phone, and a little bit of texting. So I accepted.
Two seconds later I realized that all of my phone numbers were stored on the phone. It's a good thing I wrote most of them down in my password book. "Password book." That, in itself, is significant. I used to have a phone book. Now I have a password book.
That got me to thinking about back in the day, and how I used to have a bunch of phone numbers memorized. These days, I don't even know my own home phone number. It too was stored on the phone. Think about how weird it feels when you go for a blood test or something and the nurse asks you if your phone number is still 905-388-3010 and your answer is, "I don't know." It's not because of Altzheimer's. Or it's a form of early-onset Altzheimer's wrought by the very things I am writing about here.
Here's another angle. I can still remember some phone numbers from when I was back in high school. (68-74.)
- The Krawecs - 385-1332
- The Evans's - 383-8638
- Home - 388-3010
- Yellow Cab - 522-3535
Today, I only have four numbers memorized. I know my own cell number, and the home number I had fifteen years ago. I also know 911 and the number for Yellow Cab - now Hamilton Cab.
Isn't that pathetic? Talk about learned helplessness. Or conditioned helplessness.
So anyway, when the smartphone booted up I opted not to import my Google settings and just keep it to the basics. It did not escape my notice, that if I wanted to download any apps, I would not be able to access the Google Store without a Google account. That's when I realized that if I want to keep recording my phone calls, and using my smartphone as an egg timer that I would have to sign in to Google. So maybe I am not the buckskin-wearing, mountain-dwelling, libertarian purist I had imagined myself to be.
All of this reminds me of something I read on a washroom stall wall back when I worked at Westinghouse in the 70's. It said something like,
"If, in the end it is said,
that man shall lose his most valuable possession,
he will grab his cock and lose his mind."
Sounds dated in this age of smartphone addiction, don't it? He's losing his mind alright, but it ain't his cock he's holding on to.
I'll end my diatribe here. I know I have barely scratched the surface of the dangers of unthinking, maniacal acceptance of virtual living.
Once you have acquired a certain perspective, your emotional response to the following photo might be similar to the one you would have if it were a photo of people eating broken glass.
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