Get off the phone

EDITOR:

Walking in the mall I saw friends Jill and Jason — but they walked by and neither acknowledged me. I was puzzled. Later I saw my old friend, Dory, and she also ignored me. Days later I saw Phil, from work, and oddly he didn’t even hear me call his name from 15 feet away. I was beginning to get a complex. Later my own cousin, Barb, was at the stoplight and even my horn did not get her attention. Odd. Then I saw my friend, Jeff, and not only did he not return my “hi”, but he walked right off the curb. (You know where I am going with this, don’t you?)

Recently, in church we saw a video clip of a family with three kids and their mom seated for a meal at their table. All looked very sad. The youngest says, “I miss dad.” The second one repeats the same words. The teenager says, “I miss him the most.” Mom quietly says to her children, “We all miss him so.” The camera then pans to the father at the other end of the table wrapped up busily on his fancy phone.

People have accidents while driving talking and texting. People walk off curbs and into dangerous predicaments. I observe folks all over — heads down, fingers busy, objects in their ears — and not just teens. No wonder laws are passed concerning electronic gadgets.

Recall party lines and four digit numbers? Ours was 3308, then ST6-7293. I didn’t know what texting was until four years ago. Then I found out my flip could take pictures. Later my nephew was playing games on my cheap phone in 45 seconds. I do not “go there”.

After the video clip, the pastor’s message spoke on how these gadgets can easily control us and take us away from vital face-to-face conversations and better priorities. It’s easy for us to ignore who and what really count. He admitted that he was the worst offender — likely not. During his message, my tiny flip phone rang softly. I thought I had it on vibrate but it was on “1”. Sort of expecting an important call, I went to the back of the church to see who called and ending up standing next to me friend AJ. At that moment we both realized what I had done — the irony of the message hitting us. Yikes, nabbed! A recent study indicated that the average adult spends 42 hours weekly on the phone and/or computer not work related. Does your 8-year old really need a phone? Your teen a fancy one? Can you not set boundaries, parents? Can we not set better examples? Anyone addicted? Let’s do better! P.S. AJ looked at my ancient flip and said, “Mike, you’re safe, that last century relic can’t imprison you.”

Mike Olson

Ford River/Escanaba