I remember coming across three University of Pittsburgh co-eds one day last spring. It was on Fifth Avenue on the University of Pittsburgh campus. The young ladies were walking three abreast, and each had a cell phone in their hands. What I found interesting, if not somewhat sad, was that instead of talking amongst themselves, they were each involved with a distant person.
I recently had lunch with my nephew, a successful attorney. Most of our time together was spent with him texting or talking on his cell phone. If I had remembered to bring my cell phone, I would have called him and asked him how he was enjoying his lunch.
Not long ago I would have thought that this cell phone phenomenon was just the younger generation’s way of getting on their elders' nerves. But it isn’t just younger people anymore -- every generation is just as guilty.
It is good day and age we live in what with instant communication and information at our fingertips. But there are downsides to this high tech revolution, especially one side I find especially alarming. Let me explain.
When I was a student in high school many years ago I had an English teacher who taught the class how to do a research paper. This man was also the forensics coach. He would assign us a topic and it was off to the library for us. Hours were spent doing the actual research, using note cards, followed by the
condensing of then information on paper with a bibliography. He was a tough grader, and if you made an A on the paper you achieved something.
I recently had a chance to talk with a professor of biology. When I asked him how he graded, since most of the time spent with his students was in the labs, he replied that he assigned research papers. When I replied you mean Google papers, ones that are researched on the internet, he thought for a moment and said that yes, he assigned Google papers.
I read recently about a history text book written for a school district in Virginia that contained over 140 errors. The writer said she got her information off the internet.
Like I said before, it is a good day and age we live in, but there is a time when speed is not a good thing. When future doctors, lawyers and teachers can’t do basic research -- when future engineers and politicians take shortcuts-- then something is wrong.
Borscht, Texting and Zombies: A Poem
I had lunch with my nephew the other day.
He had a bowl of borscht. I had ham on rye.
With one hand he used a spoon. With the other hand he texted.
When I asked him if he enjoyed his borscht, he did not respond. He just looked at me with glazed over eyes. Zombie, I thought.
When I texted him how he enjoyed his borscht, he texted back it was fine.
When we left the cafe I texted him goodbye.
He texted back he had a fine time.
By Henry Peter Gibbin