How Soon Will We Disappear?
It won't be a dino-killing asteroid that kills us. More likely, it'll be technology, stupidity, or getting hit by a Greyhound.
“The human race has improved everything but the human race.” Adlai Stevenson
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid the size of a mountain struck the Yucatan peninsula. This ended what is known as the Mesozoic era. You could say dinosaurs didn’t know what hit them, seeing as they knew nothing about asteroids, or that Yucatan would one day be a vacation capital.
Rather than go into the gory details, let’s just say that if you were within 625 miles of the blast, you were liquefied. Many dinosaurs were liquefied by the initial impact. Those that survived tried to run from the radiation storm. Anthropologists have since proven conclusively that running does diddley. Standing there bewildered is just as effective.
Obviously, smartphones don’t go crossing against lights on their own.
Being liquefied is serious business, and I’m sure it limits your options if you believe in reincarnation. If you’re nothing but liquid, you might have to settle on coming back as a smoothie or concentrated laundry detergent.
In any event, as stupid as dinosaurs were, they were here for millions of years without getting hit by a bus while texting. We, on the other hand, get hit while texting all the time.
America saw a 10 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities last year. This is the largest year-over-year increase in four decades.
Okay, admittedly, not all pedestrian deaths were caused by mobile devices, although bus drivers admit they’ve run over a lot of smartphones. Obviously, smartphones don’t go crossing against lights on their own.
It’s also clear we’ve gone beyond the rational use of mobile technology. Right now, we look at our smartphones about 46 times a day. If we’re not walking and texting, we’re sleeping. If we’re not sleeping, we’re showering or having sex. Twelve percent of people check their phones while showering. Nine percent check them during sex.
Even in the poorest regions of the world, people are texting and getting hit by at least a rickshaw.
If nine percent of us check our phones during sex, that’s more than heroin addicts check their needles during intercourse, and certainly more than dinosaurs did practically anything.
Clearly a level of addiction exists. Affluent countries have a more serious problem, but no country is without its share of addicts. Even in the poorest regions of the world, people are texting and getting hit by at least a rickshaw.
So how is it we’re more addicted to smartphones than fruit bats are to figs? What makes us so susceptible to the mobile’s wily charms?
Anthropologists think we’ll die of stupidity, which is ironic since, years ago, they thought dinosaurs died of stupidity.
First of all, companies like Apple have been planning this all along. These devices weren’t created to make our lives easier. They were meant to increase our dopamine levels. Every new function is addictive which, in turn, increases the possibility we’ll be hit by a bus while texting.
If it’s not a bus, believe me, these devices can kill us any number of ways. Some neurologists think we’ll die from electromagnetic waves. Sociologists believe we’ll become so antisocial, we’ll end up living in our washrooms. Anthropologists think we’ll die of stupidity, which is ironic since, years ago, they thought dinosaurs died of stupidity.
Personally, I’m going with stupid. We’ve been told microwaves are killing us now with electromagnetic waves. Nothing’s happened so far. Texting is far worse. People are doing all sorts of strange and plainly stupid things.
Just the other day I did an experiment. I spent the afternoon reading comments on social media. In each case, I detected dinosaur-level stupidity.
“What does it mean if a book has no sales rank on amazon?” Someone answered: “It’s a good book.”
One woman wrote: “I don’t believe everything I read online but if a buzzfeed quiz tells me I’ll have 3 kids based on my movie preferences then that’s that.” Personally, I think she’ll die from lack of commas.
Or how about the person who asked: “What does it mean if a book has no sales rank on amazon?” Someone answered: “It’s a good book.”
Then there’s the person who posted 12 ½ rules for writing which included: Write every day, read every day, set a regimen, keep a pen handy, resist stereotypes, edit, edit, edit, don’t bore readers, have a moral, tell both sides of the story, and poetry does NOT have to rhyme.
Someone wrote back: “I agree. Rhyming sucks.”
My favourite, however, was the classic exchange between four women on Facebook after seeing a video of a baby elephant.
“All the poor thing wanted was a drink of water before heading on its way,” Karla posted.
“That ‘poor thing’ is living the high life on God’s amazing land,” Pam replied.
“Pam Williams, the ‘high life’????” Janice interjected. “What planet do YOU live on? Where they’re hunted/poached DAILY by uncaring ignorant people. PLEASE RESEARCH THE TRUTH REALITIES OF AN ELEPHANT’S LIFE….THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE OR STUPIDITY WITH THE INVENTION OF THE ‘MARVELOUS INTERNET’ WE ARE ON……..”
“Janice Rall Yash — goodness,” Liz responded. “You have ruined this.”
Here’s something from The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology on combatting dust allergies: “Keep pets out of the bedroom, and preferably out of the house.” I’m surprised they didn’t add: “Shoot all animals within 50 yards of your property and hang them up as a warning.”
We’ll end up on spaceships, going to Mars, with no suspended animation. We’ll just sit for 20 years, bitching about baby elephants.
I shouldn’t make fun of these people. They’re just trying to express themselves. At the same time, if I could find these examples in one afternoon, getting hit by a bus while texting isn’t so farfetched.
What’s farfetched is someone saying this isn’t a problem. Of course it’s a problem. At this rate, we won’t need an asteroid plummeting to the earth. We’ll end up on spaceships, going to Mars, with no suspended animation. We’ll just sit for 20 years, bitching about baby elephants.
Personally, I think I’d rather get hit by a Greyhound. I don’t want to spend 20 years sitting next to someone whose lips move when they read texts.
Robert Cormack is a novelist, blogger and children’s book author. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse To Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details.