I've probably written about this before, I honestly can't remember. But if I have, let it serve as a refresher that we're an ultra-violent society that pops off in an instant over the dumbest things and the root cause is our inability to disconnect. We're connected 24/7, phones, computers, televisions and it's all illuminated and it's constantly hammering on our wellbeing.
Think about those people who aren't that connected. Maybe that person with the flip phone or better yet, no phone. These people are calmer, they have more rationalization skills, their thought processes aren't cluttered with prank videos and scenes of street fights that literally infect brain waves. Hey, I'm not preaching, trust me. I'm actually fairly guilty of it myself. I also find it harder and harder to get away from it. Facebook and Twitter have turned into breaking news feeds, Instagram, Snap Chat — it's all taking over our lives. I know I for one am growing increasingly tired of it. Having that level of connection all the time can't be good for you.
But it's easy to shut off everything and walk away, right? Not so my much. Because here's the culture we've created, we are now connected all the time. Social, leisure, work — it's all at our disposal every minute of every day, there's no turning that off. I firmly believe that it's made the makers of Adderall and Ritalin very happy people, because we've become so organically disconnected we need to chemically reconnect. I understand that there are people who actually need those drugs, and I'm not for one instant mocking you in anyway. I'm just saying that this sort of medication 25 years ago was doled out sparingly. Now, however, it seems like prescriptions come with frequent flyer miles.
In the 2000s it really got bad. If someone needed to reach you at any time day or night they can. Which means that you now have some sort of weird obligation to answer as soon as you get it. That email can come in the middle of Sunday Mass, the text can come in the middle of a family gathering, it doesn't matter, it's now in front of you and you have to deal with it. If it's in the middle of normal business hours (defined as Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.), that's one thing. Now you're doing your job. But if you get an email from a client, co-worker, boss at 2 p.m. on Saturday, chances are you're gonna take a minute to answer the question or respond in some way, shape or form.
And that, my friends, is the root of it all. It just keeps slamming you! Non-stop, the Internet, social media, emails, text messages, voice mails, phone calls ... it just doesn't stop. And that can make anyone cranky. Which is most likely the cause of people freaking out on a minimum wage employee at a fast food drive through. Because the lines of what is correct behavior and incorrect behavior are blurred, so punching someone because they gave you cherry coke as opposed to regular coke seems perfectly logical. Now, you can say it's bad parenting or upbringing and you're not completely wrong. But I know people with hair-trigger tempers that weren't that way 20 years ago, and these same people are heavily connected.
For a society that's so connected we don't take the time to review the entire story; we scan headlines, assume the rest and move on. We can't be bothered with the complete story; this, too, leads to a nation of irate individuals. Headlines are written to pull you into the article. For instance, if you just read a headline that said "Baby lost at sea for 14 days" and you didn't read any further, it would make you sad. But if you read the article it might go on to say that the baby was rescued on the 14th day and is alive and doing well. But because we are headline readers, we are uninformed and, frankly, if you never know what anyone is talking about then you become extremely annoyed all the time. What the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org