It used to be that when I got up in the morning, I would make a pot of coffee, sit down with my breakfast and open the newspaper. You remember those, right? Rolled up bundles of newsprint thrown on your lawn from an old Chevy at 6 in the morning? If you’re really old, you remember some 12-year-old flinging yours from a bag on his shoulder as he rode his bike along the quiet streets.
Nowadays, while the coffee is brewing, I fire up the laptop and start to peruse the lighted screen. If I am feeling diligent, I do some writing. After all, that memoir is not going to write itself. Then I check my email and Facebook. Here is where I feel myself getting sucked into the web. Before I know it, two hours have gone by, and I have little to show for it.
The internet has been both blessing and curse. If I need to find anything – a fact, a phone number, or a place to host my kid’s birthday party – I just Google it. Yes, that word is now a verb. I picture the creator of Google, not as a savvy business person, but as an evil mastermind developing the ultimate addictive drug – instant information. Soon I am Googling everything from SAT statistics for a blog post to new Nike shoes for my son to the name of the actress on that old Seventies TV series, “The Partridge Family.” (It’s Susan Dey, by the way.)
It is also more than a little unsettling to find the results of your online shopping scrolling down in ads on your Facebook page. Facebook recently received flak for doing a psychological experiment with people’s moods as they used the social website. Is there any doubt in our minds that the employees over there are cackling maniacally while tinkering with our brains?
Remember when Al Gore took credit for inventing the internet? Well, it’s a good thing Bush stole that election from him in 2000 because if Gore had been president, he would have used the internet to completely manipulate our thought processes and enslave us with technology. I’m pretty sure we would all be marching in lock step while chanting things like, “Parental warnings on CDs” and “Global warming is killing us!”
How many cute but useless memes do I have to read before I awaken from my stupor? How many clever You Tube videos do I have to watch before I realize I should be doing something more productive? Maybe if I received a “Like” every time I got the dishes or laundry done, I would be more motivated. As I write this, it is only 9:25 am here in the heartland. I think there is still time to salvage the day.
I’m getting off the internet right now and unrolling that mysterious bundle I found at the end of my driveway this morning.