This week's guest author is Ludell Hogwaller.
My name is Ludell and I suffer from TMST.
Last week, I was the guest of honor at an exorcism, carried out by the Rockbottum elite, Chet Lester, Ydnar, Aint Feemy and Bubba. They intended to excise my Luddite tendencies, citing my refusal to own a "smart" phone as the primary problem.
Apparently, I have angered the flock, because I won't take photos dripping with extreme narcissism, seek peer approval by "following" others, stagger around head down and semi-catatonic while twitting, vining, i-gramming, slapchatting or swiping left.
Aint Feemy refused to accept my medical condition, TMST, (Too Much Screen Time) as a valid reason for my behavior and summarily accused me of non-social practices. Cousin Ydnar then insisted I immediately get a Spacebook account, because it's wildly popular with teenagers. Chet Lester and Bubba said I have to join social media and confess everything to the web--where it will remain forever and ever, amen--so others can "like" me.
This all began when I first contracted TMST in 1958. I sat too close to the TV, because the screen was only 9" and fuzzy black and white. I was exposed to Captain Marsupial, Hopalong somebody and three NYC businessmen named Amos, Andy and Kingfish. Shortly thereafter, I became addicted to the Giant Screen, unwittingly choosing the front row.
In '74, Cousin RW and me both got jobs in television as camera operators, where we were required to stare
transfixed into tiny 4" b&w screens for long hours. RW worked variety shows, sports and concerts, while I ended up running camera on TV preachers.
We began to overdose on close proximity to screens, so we retreated to the world of golf course maintenance, where screens and the hypnotizing wavelengths of microwave could not follow, but the effects lingered. RW had a TMST flashback from serving on a remote TV truck crew during a ten month, nonstop orgy of screens and suffered cranial deactivation. He awoke to find himself in the Army. (Where the screens still managed to track him down.)
In '84, we returned to golf, where no screens existed and went happily about our business, fixing and improving bad golf courses, when, with no warning . . . the damned screens appeared again.
In '96, Cousin RW was issued a computer, a time clock operated from Nepal or somewhere else in the South Pacific, and was force fed payroll software training in the manner of a French foie gras goose. The mysterious IT priests claimed the computer would save hours of payroll ciphering every week, even though RW typically only spent 20 minutes filling out time sheets on Friday morning.
Computer time escalated to five hours weekly, requiring complex adjustments to punch clock aberrations and daily inquisitions with the IT monks. RW had to justify illogical actions like sending the crew home early during a monsoon.
We hated our screens.
Screens then invaded daily golf operations, replacing reliable and easily understood switches and dials--especially on my beloved irrigation systems--with "menus". This caused RW to run off and take up writing for Supt. News, in order to escape the screens . . . but he became even more infected with TMST. (Remote publishing demands even further immersion into the computer cult.)
Soon, we were entangled in non-linear video editing, ebooks and all sorts of sordid screen doings. Then our friends and family were sucked into the vortex of smart phones, taking TMST to plague levels. Like that fella in the "Bodysnatchers", we watched helplessly as everybody but us transformed, living in the neck down position, staring into tiny screens. They abandoned real life for "apps" and social stuff on their little electronic choke collar.
Folks everywhere stopped reading books. They lost the ability to navigate streets, trails and life without their little digital buddy, obeying its every order while they drove around, unaware of their actual location: The Matrix.
Panic attacks ensued if they found themselves without their device on their person at all times. They willingly paid half a car payment to be "connected", and added monthly fees for various services that became mandatory for life support.
At a GIS show, I covertly eyeballed highly educated people wandering around like mental asylum patients, tripping over mowers and each other, staring into their handscreens, hoping for something called a "retweet".
We must act. That's why I'm announcing the Ludell and Momma Unsocial Media Award.* Find and nominate someone who has managed to avoid being lured into The Matrix . . . even your ownself.
Whether you are sitting too close to the TV, a monitor or simply boiling your cranial cavity with 4G microwaves, do something, right or wrong, do something. Don't assume you are safe because you keep your device on your belt, that's where you keep your ovaries and such.
If you think I'm irrational, try counting how many times a day you look at a screen--and remember this: Microwave frequencies are used to broadcast TV and phones. If they can cook a burger, they can cook your brain.
*Unsocial Media Award winner receives the coveted IRON SKILLET TROPHY, engraved by Momma, along with a course in How To Properly Hack a Computer.