He sought relief from the internal psychotic pressure created by the presence of this computer by cutting off his right nipple and handing it to his boss in a gift box.
Cut to real life: a New York City subway heading downtown.
There stands a 30-something straphanger. A greenish-grey Jack Spade bag hangs over his right shoulder. He is sporting a goatee and the rest of his face is a day past his last shave. His left hand cradles an iPhone while his left thumb gets quite a workout, scrolling through what appears, based on his facial expressions, to be very important information. The pace of scrolling suggests he’s reading tweets and updates, not emails.
Sitting down, directly below him, is his colleague. They had walked onto the train together. The colleague has silver-haired temples, is dressed in a sharp suit and tie, and is sitting with perfect posture. His hands are device-free. After riding two or three stops, the silver-haired colleague looks up at the man who I now assume must be his younger boss, and attempts to make the conversation a nervous subordinate tries to make with his manager on the way to a sales meeting. “Hey, did you see that 30 for 30 last night on ESPN?” he asks. The young douchebag never looks away from his phone while he answers.
The computer makes you do things.
Cut to real life: a restaurant called Delicatessen on Lafayette Street in Soho.
At a table for two, there sits an older gentlemen wearing an expensive-looking cobalt blue v-neck sweater, and a more-expensive-looking watch on his wrist. He is holding a Samsung Galaxy to his right ear and talking through details of a business deal, all on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. His daughter (or much younger girlfriend) sits across from him and stares into space as if she is being held captive in a phone-booth-sized prison cell.
The computer makes you do things.
We cross streets with our heads looking down at our smartphones -- but we yell at children when they cross the street and don’t look both ways.
We use our phones when we drive -- but tell teenagers not to.
We understand the benefits of meditation -- and yet fill every moment of downtime checking the Facebook status of acquaintances we call friends.
We spend precious time with friends and family showing them the top of our heads as we bury our attention in our phones.
We pay to sit in front-row seats at a baseball game, and then spend our time checking our phones to see if anyone has seen us on TV.
We attend Little League and soccer games to watch our children grow up -- and we watch our phones instead.
Michael Ginsberg was crazy, but he wasn’t wrong. The computer makes us do things.
Last week, something changed. A 25-year-old pro golfer, Rory Mcllroy, ended his very public relationship with pro tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, two weeks after their wedding invitations went out. Then, the young golfer did something even more shocking. He turned off his phone and computer.
Young people are becoming aware of the negative impact computers are having on them. They have already abandoned Facebook – and, as crazy as this sounds, I think they will abandon Twitter and Instagram next. Not just because Mom’s presence on these social media platforms have made these places uncool, but because looking people in the eyes and communicating with a purpose, face-to-face, will become the next cool thing. Those staring at their phones while hanging with their friends will be chastised.
The very peer pressure that created social media will bring it down. Why? Because at the end of the day, what kids want is to be nothing like their parents -- and they can see the idiots we’ve become.