While I was driving home one night, I was stopped at a traffic light and began to imagine what life would be like without the many electronic conveniences we enjoy. Hmm...
As a Floridian, we are accustomed to losing power due to tropical storms and hurricanes, which tends to annoy us by living without such things as air conditioning and television, as well as the loss of food maintained in the refrigerator. Schools close in such situations and are often converted to shelters. Other than this, life basically goes on as usual, but what if it turned into a permanent condition? What if some sort of electronic virus infiltrated all of our computers, phones, and other electronic gadgetry, and somehow shut them all done?
Our first concern would be whether our military could continue to defend our country effectively, that our hospitals could properly function, and that we could feed the populace adequately. It would be like the premise used in the movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," except it would be for an extended period of time. Assuming we could accommodate these situations though, what would life be like without electronics?
For starters, you might think that automobile traffic would snarl up as all of our traffic lights would be out of commission. Inevitably, traffic cops would have to be dispatched to key intersections and we would actually get some intelligent traffic control in place (better than the preprogrammed lights). For minor intersections, we would have to start practicing basic driving courtesy again and, God forbid, cooperate with and respect other drivers. I suspect traffic accidents and fatalities would actually go down.
So far, so good.
If televisions and computers were knocked out, people would be forced to read, write and speak again. Kids would have to come out of their caves and into the sunlight, pick up a ball and get a little exercise and socialize. We would all still be craving some form of entertainment and, because of this, you might see more picnics, concerts in the park, and other civic functions. Attendance at school functions, such as the PTA and SAC, would be stimulated, and parents would become actively involved in the welfare of their children again. Participation in other nonprofit groups would undoubtedly flourish as well. Basically, our socialization skills would improve and we would become more conscious of our civic duties.
As mentioned, food would be a problem; we would have to learn to shop more frequently and prepare meals differently, and we would have to learn the lost art of baking and cooking. No doubt, we would miss all of those highly nutritious microwave meals and snacks. "What, no more Hot Pockets??!"
We would become healthier as we would have more time for exercise and play games like tennis, golf, softball, or whatever without Wii. This should cause health insurance rates to go down.
Since computers would be out of commission, the unemployment rate would go down because we would need more clerical people for such things as filing, typing, preparing graphics, processing orders, etc.
Our personal debt would probably go away as we would be unable to process credit cards and, as such, we would be wiser in the use of our cash.
Our sex lives would improve as evidenced by the power outages of New York. The only downside is it would probably result in a population explosion if we don't properly promote birth control.
Due to a change in our diet and having to be forced to improve our socialization skills, maybe we can finally get people off of drugs like Prozac, Xanax, and Valium.
And finally, the cost of living would go down as we are no longer having to pay for all of the electronic luxuries we are accustomed to.
All of this illustrates our addiction to electronics and their manipulative powers. Life would be cheaper, more healthy, and perhaps more industrious, but it would certainly not be as fast-paced or complicated than what we are familiar with, but then again, would this be a problem?
Maybe the rallying cry would be a variation of John Lennon's song, "Imagine" -
"Imagine no cell phones, it's easy if you try, no PC's or TV's, above us, only sky.
Imagine all the people, living life in peace."
Yes sir, the best thing that could happen to this country is to have a virus that knocked out our technology...
Then the light changed, I snapped out of it, and drove home.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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