There is a code for everything today. Every item in the shop, every village in the world. There’s a code for every telephone. Bar codes float through the air like fireflies. We are all zipped up. Where once we needed our name, today we need a passport, email address, social security number, and zip code.

But, life on earth existed before codes. Before zip codes, cable television, and calling codes. Before bar codes were printed on every product. We used dial telephones which worked better — at least as telephones — than the phones we use now. In small towns, you only needed the last four numbers to place a call.

We mailed letters and remarkably, they got delivered. Television was not as interesting, but we did read books for entertainment. And we enjoyed it, or at least some of us did.

We had conversations with each other. That’s right! Imagine it, for a moment, groups of people getting together and talking about all kinds of stuff. History, books, and the state of the world. No one became enraged and charged from the room with blood in his or her eye.

Oh, did I mention that most of us were polite? Said things like “excuse me” and “thank you” and “please” … and no one felt diminished by this. It made many of the small things in life a little easier to deal with. Not that the world was perfect.

Much was broken and is still waiting to get fixed, but as a whole, we were nicer to each other. Personally, at least. We weren’t nice because we were whiter or browner or some shade in between. We were nice because we were taught to be like that. By our parents. Because civilized people were taught to be polite to adults and each other. It was the grease on the squeaky wheel of civilization.

As I watch kids today sitting together in groups busily texting each other, I have to wonder how they will develop human relationships with any depth. If they don’t know how to have a conversation, how are they going to build a life? Maybe the passion for tiny electronics will fade with time. Then, folks will remember how talking and laughing used to take up that space in the world.

You never know. It could happen!

Categories: Humor, manners & civility

Tags: , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. The adults may eventually get bored of them, but they are a part of the younger generation’s life. I see the youngsters we have at work, and they’re hopeless. I don’t think they would survive without their phone for more than a day. Of course, history repeats itself and one day they will be the ones looking down on whatever new innovation is “ruining” the generation that comes after them….


    • Probably. But i have really watched a lot of “new things” come … and then just become part of the scenery. The phones are fascinating now, but they won’t stay that way. They will be like cable TV was when it came in — the biggest thing on earth … and then, after a while, it was just TV. Or when the Xbox came out and everyone did NOTHING but play all the time … and now, they are a part of many households, but they don’t consume most lives. I think phones will be like that, too. in a few years they will be just another part of life. But it will take a few more years.


  2. I find it quite rude the way that people, especially younger people will constantly check their phones when they are with people. If I go out to lunch for example I turn mine off even though I rarely get calls. I do enjoy technology but I fear that it is making people dumber not smarter because they don’t need to learn anything when they can just google it.


  3. Keep dreaming, Marilyn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids in a restaurant with their phones in their hands. I think we will evolve and grow a third hand to be able to eat while texting and to occasionally shake someone hand in greeting. While never having to stop texting.


  4. Kind of sad. I wonder how it will go.


  5. How times change! I often wonder what those who are attached to their phones and devices would do if the power went out for any length of time. lol


  6. Maybe all these codes are the mark of the beast.


  7. Makes me think of a great book I reviewed for a psychology journal, years ago now, but it is even more pertinent now.

    It was called

    Untouched: The Need for Genuine Affection in an Impersonal World, by Mariana Caplan

    I think it has been re-released under a new title because, get this, the original title was considered too intimate!!!

    Here’s my review.

    Great post Marilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I saw an ad a year or more ago, online, which trumpeted the fact that here is a family all ‘connecting’ because of electronics. And in the scene there was Mom on her cell phone, daddy was on his smart phone, one of the kids was using an Xbox, sister was texting a message and someone else was on the computer with a computer game.

    yes indeed. The family that plays together…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been watching my granddaughter who, having emerged from her teenage years really IS having serious relationship problems. She doesn’t know how to have a conversation and because she doesn’t read or do anything particularly interesting. There isn’t a lot to talk about. I’m hoping she’ll snap out of it.

      I watched her grow up glued to a cell phone and I hoped it wouldn’t be like this.

      I have nothing against electronics, but if someone is actually here, physically here, talking works for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Remind me to mail my “Baby” bro’s birthday card today. It’s ready to go.

    I still like “snail” cards. It’s a family tradition that allows the personal touch.

    Yes, it’s VERY pricey when you care enough to send the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wouldn’t it be great. Visit from No. 2 son is always accompanied by some sort of vibrating telephone, although not extreme, but it is today normal. Mr. Swiss often complains that no-one calls on a phone today. You get a message, even photos. First of all you have to decipher whatever is written because full words are no longer written, just a few letters which of course make sense to most people as long as they are not golden oldies. By the way How R U???

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are all snuffly with the new season. It’s the budding of the trees and grasses, so we first think we have a cold, then we realize nope. Allergies. It’s that time of year again. You can’t get the nice weather without the pollen. We have a very sympathetic doctor who is allergic to everything. He says he actually wears a mask when he is outside. Sometimes, about a week from now, the air is SO full of pollen, it looks like green snow is falling. Breathe that in and you’ll be coughing for a week.

      We’re doing okay. Getting older. Having more trouble with the stairs. Whatever was wrong with us ten years ago is wronger now. My feet are like yours. I have to be very careful where I put them. Also need to be sure my shoes are safe for the ground. But life is at pretty quiet. No big emergencies. Rolling along, watching the trees and waiting for leaves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No-one here with allergies to pollen. We notice it on our blinds. I always waited for May to pass through before cleaning them as they would be covered with a gree-yellow layer of pollen. A year ago I could go for walks and have no problems, although as the walk progressed my legs no longer did what I wanted them to do, but no great problems. Since my diagnosis with MS things have really gone down. I can no longer go out without support, as I feel so unsure, At home I was OK, but now I even need my stick just for safety’s sake and when I rise in the morning. Some days are better than others, but things do not get better with age. Arn’t computers wonderful things, you can just sit in a chair and let them do all the work you tell them to.


        • I don’t go out much. As a start, just getting up and down the stairs if difficult. Sometimes it’s easier because not every day is as bad as the previous day — or the next one. Every once in a while, I have a good day and I feel great. Until the next day and I realize that one good day doesn’t mean its getting better. It just is what it is. At least my eyes have stopped jiggling around. I used to have visual issues, but that seems to have settled down.

          The pollen is hard on everyone. Garry never had allergies until we moved here. The level of pollen is so intense, everything is covered with green for a couple of weeks, probably beginning in about one more week. We are in the early stages. It will get MUCH worse. When it is very bad, I don’t go outside. I can’t breathe that air.

          Liked by 1 person

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