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Digital photos are getting too good.†”I hate my picture,” I tell my wife.†”I look old!””No, no.†You don’t look old,” she tells me.†”You look ageless, kind of like King Tut.†Tan, leathery skin and all dried out.†You look maybe 5,000 ñ 6,000 years old, who can tell?†Ageless.”Oh, great. Thanks.†I remember years ago when digital cameras were not so crisp and accurate in their portraiture.†The pictures looked fuzzy and kind of washed out.†I scoffed at digital cameras and kept my old Minolta SRT-101.†The big brass bodied camera was heavy enough to drive tent pegs.†Tripping the shutter on that old SLR sounded like an explosion in a junkyard or perhaps the slamming of the door on an older Dodge pickup but the pictures were great.†I understood F-stop and film speed, and those crappy digital cameras were just another gizmo, a fad, I thought.†Now we have several.Technology burgeons, surrounds us all and grows like kudzu.†I’ve embraced the new cameras (now that they no longer eat batteries like candy corn).†And cell phones, we have those too.†No touch screens on ours, no “apps.”†We call them our walkie-talkies.†Who needs all the extra gee-whiz gizmos?†We like the spontaneity that cell phones offer, but choose not to participate in the rest of cell phone world.Who needs texting?†It’s expensive and I’ve removed it from our family plan.†”You have a phone,” I tell the kids, “call them!”†The kids whine that maybe the call won’t be answered.†”Then leave a message! It’s a phone!”†Having text on a phone seems like wearing a belt with suspenders to me.†I’m told that I just don’t get it.†Nope, I don’t, and I’m not paying for text on a phone!†Am I an old guy?†Nah, King Tut, he’s an old guy.†Still, these days the wife and I walk into a big box electronics store and don’t know what some of the stuff is, never mind how to use it.We are constantly encouraged to embrace technology, and since I was a child we all have.†A long curly cord for the phone? Great!†Now I don’t have to sit at a little table to talk.†I can make a sandwich or wash dishes while I visit on the phone.A lever to lower the tone arm on the record player? Fine.†Now I won’t scratch the vinyl when I lower the needle.Color TV? That’s a no-brainer, of course, and we all wanted color TV.†Every advance in technology was welcomed, but mostly such improvements were instantly useable and understandable.†Our lives were improved by technological advances and no mini college course was required to understand and use the improvement.†Not so anymore.†Music, cell phones, video, computers ñ they all require detailed training to be fully utilized.Life is finite, time and our memories for instructions are finite.†Will all this stuff really improve our lives or just suck up our time and keep us from what really†matters?†What has happened to hanging out with family and friends and picking up on nuance, tone and mood in good conversation?†Text, phone chatter, e-mail, Facebook are OK, but what color are my eyes?†What is your mood today?†Quality time is what might happen if we allow time and space for it in our lives.†Has modern technology given us so many ways to communicate, but nothing to say?†Are we overloaded in a world of technology that’s a mile wide but only an inch deep?†So many choices.†We must choose how we experience one another.Nowadays, people text inanities to other people but argue with their machines!†I remember a harbinger years ago when Chrysler came out with an annoying talking car.†At the time, the quality and style of their cars seemed annoying enough to me, but no, I sat down ready to drive off; and the car pinged that single note airport ping and then with urgency: “A door is ajar!†A door is ajar!”†Looking up toward the ceiling and the disembodied voice, I replied “No it isn’t.†Peanut butter is in a jar, a door is a door!”†Still, the car wouldn’t let me start it until I corrected the door that was “a jar.”Perhaps we could be a little narrower in our embracing of all the tech and thus a little deeper with one another.†If we don’t put our foot down, I can just see the trend worsening.†A few years from now I’ll be arguing with our talking washing machine.”Open the pod bay door, Hal.””I’m sorry, Tom, I can’t do that.””What?†Why not?””My sensors indicate you’ve included one red wool sock in the white bleach load.îAnd so it will go.†I’m no Luddite.†Technology is good, but we can’t understand it all.†Doughnuts are good, but I wouldn’t advise trying to eat an entire box.†In the past when technological jumps were small and obvious, we embraced them all. A push button phone was faster than dialing, and no training was required.†(I loved explaining to our kids what “dialing a phone” meant.)†Today there’s just so much.†Choice is good, but we don’t have time as human beings to use or understand it all.†Those of us that try overload and seem to lose out on depth and friendship with other humans, as our stress level climbs.I’ve read in a science magazine that beneath the hairstyles, clothes, apps and social networks we are all still pretty much the same people as folks that sat around campfires telling stories 10,000 years ago.†Maybe that’s why staring into a fire, cooking stuff that’s bad for us and laughing and telling stories seems to appeal to us all.†It’s in the blood.†Expanding choices in life is a good thing. But now and then let’s choose the campfire, that’s all.†Allowing time for free form thought enables humor and creativity.†Facebook lets you find friends, but only by allowing for face time can you make them.†A cookout with friends, a fire pit is a good change from our over-scheduled, over-wired lives.†And hey, in the firelight even leathery old King Tut looks pretty good, especially when he’s laughing.†Tom

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