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Does the Future Rot Your Mind?

Does the Future Rot Your Mind?

WTF’s Host Warren Kimmel takes some time to ponder the future

I lay awake for hours last night, locked in combat with myself. The battle was prolonged and vicious and some of the insults were entirely uncalled for. In the end I grudgingly made peace with myself and chalked it all up to the fact that the future is rotting my mind. Curse you Steve Jobs. Curse your zombie infested Iphone and your Angry Birds store!

Today’s post, shockingly, is entirely the product of my own small but nicely plump brain. No re-posts, TED videos or book reviews on this one. This is all me. Which should go some way to explaining why so far it makes no sense at all. Anyway, back to my nocturnal pugilism – a little background.

I have a son, Jacob, 4 years old and living proof that the devil can take on a human form. In an effort to repel his diabolical tendencies I have found that the Iphone is a magnificent distraction. Further proof if it was needed that Steve Jobs is God…or the devil (see human form argument above). The thing is Jacob is not interested in the games lovingly designed for 4 year olds. Oh no, that would be too easy. He is only interested in the type of games that he cannot actually play. The kind of games for which you need to be able to read for a start. The kind of games that require the dexterity of a brain surgeon. Games he shouldn’t even be aware of with characters and ideas that throw up so many questions, frustrations and problems for him that what started off as a blessed handheld respite for my wife and I, has become a daily battle filled with intrigue and deception. Basically I have started hiding my phone from him somewhere in the house and hoping it doesn’t ring which considering it is after all, a phone, gives an idea of where we have arrived in our lives. So I hide the phone; Sooner or later I get a call, it rings, Jacob is quicker than I am so he finds it and immediately hangs up the call and starts playing one of these games he cannot understand. This leads to the inevitable frustration, tears and a lip-trembling request for a new game. “I’m bored with all these games, daddy. I need a new game.  Pleeaaasssee”. Anything with zombies usually does the trick, for about 10 minutes. and then he realises he cannot really play this game and we are back to square one. Rinse and repeat.

This, however, does not keep me awake at night. Not at all. This, as they say in the world of naked darts, is just par for the course. No, what keeps me awake at night is the fact that every time he asks me I get really annoyed and frustrated with him. We can sometimes go through three or four games a week like this and it freaks me out. It goes against everything I was taught to understand about value and thrift and appreciation and …life ‘n stuff, you know? Isn’t it just … wrong to buy things and toss them with no thought for their value? Their worth?  With no consideration that someone had to work to earn the money to pay for these things? No connection between getting things and valuing things, cherishing things. Looking after things?

Basically it’s about the money. I mean the waste of money. It’s an unacceptable waste of money and it’s rotting my child’s moral core. So fine then, no more wasteful purchases in the app store.  Score one for the responsible parent in me and we can all go to sleep now yes? Well, no. That’s when the other half of me, the practical guy, the sensible one, the 21st century man weighs in. He says something like – “These apps cost 1 dollar. 1 dollar! Maybe, sometimes, on a really expensive app, 2 dollars. I have spent more money than this paying for a parking spot while I run in to McDonalds to buy a happy meal for the same kid. The app costs less than the 5 minutes of parking involved in buying him the cheapest unhealthiest kids’ meal available in the western world (no disrespect to McDonalds. Who doesn’t love a Happy Meal? And playland. Thank God for McDonalds playland)”

Anyway the point is that these things are so cheap that it actually makes sense to buy as many of them as he wants. Hell, a new Iphone game every day would still cost less than 2 cups of coffee or a stale sandwich wolfed down on the way to work. For myself I will drop up to 10 dollars on almost any magazine just because it has the words ‘gadget review’ somewhere on the cover (note: The gadget review in “Modern Knitwear” isn’t half bad. Some of the knitting machines you can buy these days. Pfaff!!). And that’s the dilemma that keeps me awake all night and exhausted all day because it is happening to me more often and in more places.

I will tip a waitress an extra two or three dollars just because I can’t be bothered to do the complicated 15{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} calculation on a difficult total. What the heck right? I can afford it and who needs the hassle. But I will sit on the web for 9 days straight trying to find a FREE version of the $10 software that I know I will end up using every day, that will save me hours of time (which I can then use to read gadget reviews) and probably help me grow my business. I will obsess for weeks over whether or not I should purchase that web based backup service that could save my life for the princely sum of $29.99 but I will happily pay at least that much on a whim for a really bad car wash… just before it rains. And it’s not like it’s me that has changed. I have stayed the same. I still like to believe I try and find value in any purchase decision I make. It’s the world that has changed: The relentless march of technology, globalisation, and the digital world. All these and their diabolical poster child, the interwebs, all have conspired to destroy any sensible idea of value left in the world.

For $30 per month I can get a) one bad car-wash or b) access to all of the accumulated knowledge of 10,000 years of civilization including Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, Face book and the online version of “Modern Knitwear” which includes the gadget reviews! How can I ever feel happy about my car wash ever again? Every sandwich has begun to feel massively overpriced (6 Iphone Apps) Every romantic meal with my wife a massive extravagance (3 months worth of unlimited internet access) and I simply cannot look my car in the face, well the grill anyway, ever again (Total vehicle expenses are equal to one shiny new Mac Book Air every month!!). How are we expected to live like this?  I have begun muttering to myself in the street and I have developed a nervous tic that involves screeching “RIDICULOUS!” and laughing out of context like a deranged parrot. Jacob, the four year old believes I have gone mad. I think he is probably right. The future rots your mind. No doubt.

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