This is not exactly an original thought, I know. But I was at a barbecue at a friend of my sister’s house Monday, and at one point I looked around and this is what I saw: Four or five people eating. Two or three more people talking to each other. And at least 10 others sitting a mere few feet apart, completely ignoring each other, and staring down at their cellphones.
A few looked like they were texting. A few more seemed to be playing a computer game.
It was horrifying. It’s the 4th of July, you’re at a social function put on by nice people, and you’re spending all of it playing “Angry Birds” or finding out what your friends are doing.
Now look, I’m as guilty as the next person of being a cell phone addict. And an occasional text or something is acceptable. But spending the entirety of a plarty on your phone, when there are real, live, nice people to talk to right where you are? Crazy.
Makes me sad. For years social scientists have talked about the Internet killing our social interactions with other people. But it’s really the phones that are killing it.
Really, it’s OK to put the phone away at a party. It’s rude not to.
Plus, all those texters missed the moment Monday when I got naked and started karaokeing on top of a picnic table to “Copacabana.” I got a standing ovation.
**I listen to this every 4th of July, and other times of the year, too. With all due respect to Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl, this is the greatest rendition of the national anthem, ever. Enjoy.
**Finally, a hat tip to one of the smart people I follow on Twitter, Mike Taber, for this story. It’s right up my alley. A man in upstate N.Y. named Philip Contos was participating in a protest ride against New York state’s helmet laws for motorcyclists.
And during the ride, Contos lost control of his bike, slammed on the brakes, and was sent flying from the bike. He, of course, landed
headfirst on the concrete and was killed instantly.
The best line of this story comes at the end:
“Troopers said Contos likely would have survived if he’d been wearing a helmet.”
I know I’m not supposed to laugh at a man’s demise, but come on, how could you not in this case???