Tag Archives: “the man”

Pro-choice

As time goes by I realize I’m being discriminated against more and more often, and I’m certain it’s only going to get worse. I’m not being treated unjustly because of my race (that’s another story) or due to my religious beliefs. I suppose I could be considered a victim of age discrimination since I’m singled out and treated differently based on my fondness for “the good old days.” I’m mostly discriminated against though for maintaining a pro-choice attitude pertaining to advanced technology that is obviously running rampant in the world today. I’m not opposed to progress, but I am against forcing it on people.

“The man” (whoever he is) insists we blindly accept change, whether we like it or not, without even considering the consequences. He continuously and vigorously imposes his will on us until ultimately we are either too exhausted to continue resisting or else we’re left feeling inadequate when we don’t succumb. I often think the younger generation, who I’m beginning to suspect may be “the man” (in this instance), is eagerly waiting for those of us a bit leery, of their pursuit of never-ending advancements in technology, to expire. The reason being there would then no longer be any of us left, to challenge the only kind of life they’ve ever known, regardless of how well-intended we were with our warnings.

Fortunately, “the man” has failed a time or two in the past when attempting to get everyone on board with his agenda although not for his lack of trying. We currently continue to have the option of reading books, magazines, and newspapers without the aid of technology. However, I’m positive offering periodicals on-line and books via the Kindle was intended to replace all paper copies of those types of literature. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened (at least not yet). I reckon there is still enough of us on this earth, who prefer perusing a genuine newspaper on Sunday mornings, to halt any inclination publishers may have for offering on-line editions only. The day I lose that choice is the day I become an ignoramus because I refuse to read a book or a newspaper on a computer screen.

I thought compact discs were finally safe from extinction, but now I’m not so sure. I recently discovered, while vacationing in North Carolina with my family, that cd players are no longer prevalent in some of the newer vehicles. Our rented Chrysler 200 came equipped with extensive “bells and whistles,” almost to the point of being too confusing to drive, yet the mid-size car was void of a compact disc player. I can understand omitting the cassette tape player, as a standard feature in newer models, because that format of recorded music is no longer even produced. I can also understand why a manufacturer might provide a way to attach an iPod to the vehicle’s speakers since many people are entrenched in that sort of technology. What I can’t comprehend though is why the cd player is apparently being phased out when approximately 50% of the population continues to fancy purchasing CDs instead of downloading music off of the internet.

I figured the people had already spoken, in regards to preserving compact discs, and I no longer needed to worry, but I guess the verdict is still out. I have well over a thousand CDs in my collection, but my only alternative in North Carolina was listening to a lame radio station while cruising in the rented Chrysler. I experienced another unwanted encounter with advanced technology, during my outing in the Tar Heel State, and once again (as expected) I was not a fan. My family and I went out for an ordinary dinner, but the restaurant’s ordering process was anything but ordinary. We entered the establishment expecting the simplicity of good food and good conversation, but instead we were instantly forced to kowtow to a newly acquired piece of state-of-the-art-technology. We were informed the iPad setting on our table was actually our menu. The waitress explained how convenient the contraption was, for all concerned, but of course to my chagrin.

My anxiety level immediately rose like a launched rocket ship. The young lady tried teaching us (mostly me) how to use the gadget, but I probably would’ve been better off trying to learn Chinese. I did discover that successfully swiping a computer screen with my finger, navigating through numerous food items and over 150 beer options, was extremely difficult, confusing, and tiresome. The waitress’ proclaimed convenience, for using the iPad, was in actuality our inconvenience in disguise. If it weren’t for my tech-savvy son, sitting at our table, we might’ve died from starvation before the evening was through. I don’t think dining out should be that complicated; therefore, I can’t imagine ever going back there in spite of how tasty the food and beer might have been.

Once in a while we’re seemingly given a choice, but when a negative consequence accompanies one of the options, but not the other, is it then really a choice? For instance, some grocery stores now offer their customers additional savings if they download the week’s digital coupons onto their shoppers’ card. We all have a similar card, yet only those who go on-line before shopping gets the luxury of receiving more for their money. Not everyone has a smartphone, and not everyone owns a computer: whether due to modest finances or simply by choice. Regardless, penalizing people based solely on them not embracing technology seems unfair. I think it’s blatant discrimination.

Unfortunately, Starbucks has recently expanded their love of advanced technology as well by offering a new promotion deemed “Mobile order and pay.” Also a bit unfair. They are literally encouraging customers to “skip the line” by doing everything on their electronic devices. At Starbucks it’s no longer first-come, first-served…it’s first-texted, first-served. It pains me to know my favorite place to write is part of the problem although I’m not willing to sacrifice my grande, dark roast coffee (with free refill) for the sake of fairness. I’m a very weak man when it comes to my Starbucks fix.

I had my first inkling, approximately a dozen years ago, as to where our nation was most-likely headed concerning its admiration for advanced technology. My lovely wife and I were dining out one evening when I noticed a gentleman romancing his cellphone instead of his female companion. I vividly remember how engrossed the man was with his tiny object and how defeated the ignored woman, seated across from him, looked. I pointed out the awkward situation to my wife, and we both agreed it was truly a sad sight to behold. The clueless man continuously ogled and caressed his electronic date for the duration of their stay. Now, the previous scenario has become the rule, not the exception, in today’s society. Spying an assortment of electronics on nearly every table in a restaurant is commonplace nowadays. I assume if people are willing to forgo conversations with their loved ones, while out for dinner, then it’s fairly conceivable they’re probably not sufficiently interacting with one another at home either.

I’m troubled that droves of people have become so attached to their electronic devices even to the point of idolatry. I’m also concerned about what other types of technological discrimination is waiting for us just around the corner. Here’s where I’m suppose to say, “To each his own.” I’m not lobbying to thwart the advancement of technology, but I am adamantly opposed to being forced into a lifestyle I believe is detrimental to relationships. Just because it’s the norm that doesn’t make it right. I presume some of you are guilty of rolling your eyes, at some point while reading this, and mistakenly referring to me as a dinosaur or else making some sort of horse-and-buggy wisecrack. If so, I’m left wondering why. I assuredly have no desire to make the horse-and-buggy my main mode of transportation, but I hold no animosity towards anyone who does. I’m not anti-technology…I’m just pro-choice!

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A Day Just Like Any Other

Lose weight. Eat healthier. Start exercising. Start a new career. Save money. Spend more time with family. Stop smoking. Those are the predictable New Year’s resolutions pledged on December 31st, of each and every year, by well-meaning saps. Typically, a New Year’s resolution is simply another failed attempt, by the majority of people making them, at bettering one’s self. Anyone who makes a resolution that begins with the word, “stop,” is most likely doomed from the start. The chances of stopping any behavior, whether it’s smoking, overeating, or acting like a jerk, just because it’s the first day of a new year is pretty slim. If discontinuing an undesirable action was easily attainable then I would think a person would’ve already made the transformation, from smoker to non-smoker, from fatty to a lean machine, or from acting like a scoundrel to being a kindhearted person, without needing a specific day of the year to do so.

I understand envisioning January 1st as the day for making a brand new start, or turning over a new leaf, in one’s life because that is what’s commonly associated with the holiday. I myself have fallen prey to what is expected from the gullible at this time of year. The pressure of sustaining a New Year’s pledge is almost unbearable particularly when you’ve made your intentions known to others. Sure, being accountable to other people may help in your new endeavor for a while, but there’s no way around being thought of as a failure, by those you’ve shared your resolutions with, when inevitably you break them (usually within the 1st week). That’s precisely why I keep stuff like that private: so if I happen to fail then only I will know. In addition, I pride myself on being a man of action (not talk), so I prefer to begin losing the weight, eating healthier, or increasing the amount of weight I can bench-press before anyone else in my life even knows what’s going on.

I have been guilty, time and time again, of breaking weight loss “resolutions” all year round and on my own without needing “the man” (whoever that is) telling me to try again on January 1st. Besides, I always start my diets on a Monday, regardless of the time of year, and much more often than not New Year’s Day is not ushered in on a Monday. I suspect my lovely wife has the same theory as I do concerning diets because if we’re going to have fish for dinner sometime during the week then it’s almost always served on a Monday. By the time the weekend comes we’re both up to our armpits in pizza. The sad thing is I don’t care all that much for the Italian cuisine, but I’ll eat it if it’s placed in front of me. On second thought, I should be happy I am not a fan of pizza, or chocolate for that matter, or else it would be even more difficult for me to maintain my girlish figure. Who am I kidding? I haven’t been that slim since… never.

I make no bones about the fact my weight has radically fluctuated, like a guilty man’s lie detector test results, for most of my life. I can be a man of extremes, so it’s no surprise I’m usually in either a sumo wrestler frame of mind or in full-blown supermodel mode regarding my diet or lack thereof. I’m either polishing off a dozen doughnuts within a 24-hour period or keeping my calorie intake to less than 800 a day. You won’t ever hear me blaming slow metabolism or bad genes for my times of plumpness. I simply like food, especially sweets, and I lack any reasonable self-control once I begin consuming. Starting a weight loss program on the first day of a new year is absolutely the worst time for anyone to begin such a venture. The likelihood of a person overindulging in everything the previous night is too great, and surely there are still some Christmas goodies scattered about the house to tempt even a normally disciplined individual.

However, this New Year’s I will once again attempt to give up smoking although I already know it’s a battle I cannot win. The last several years I have taken up smoking cigars on New Year’s Eve so that I actually have a legitimate resolution to make for the coming year. The only problem is I’m destined to fail since the following New Year’s Eve I’ll be lighting up again; therefore, breaking my resolution on the 364th day of the year. It is a vicious cycle but one I do enjoy. That leaves me with only one serious resolution I can make in which I know I will be very successful at keeping. I resolve to continue being the same awesome person that I am in the year 2015. Let’s raise our glasses this New Year’s eve and toast to what this special time of year is really all about. Here’s to a day just like any other.