"The fruit stand guy has a nicer cell phone than I do" has long been a running joke in my family. It is also, in a weird un-fruit-like way, reflective of our current, crazy society. America is great because the fruit stand guy can have a cell nicer phone then my father, who is a successful lawyer. But in many other ways, the fact that the fruit stand guy even has a cell phone -- and a better cell phone than my father -- seems ridiculous and just plain unnecessary.
Before you think this piece is coming off as an angry or even prejudice diatribe against people who sell fruit, please give me a chance -- this is not just another run of the mill, anti-fruit-stand-guy piece. Rather, it's really just a personal reflection that uses the fruit stand guy as an example of why our society has gone down the tubes and will never return to normal.
Let's stop for a second and look back into history. Not too long ago, the only people who had cell phones were doctors and big businessman. Doctors had cell phones just in case of an emergency at the hospital and big businessman had cell phones because they'd be handling multi-million dollar deals and divorcing their fifth wife simultaneously. And that all made sense. Expensive technology was for expensive people, and us peasants were perfectly content in our technology-free, bread-and-water bubble. Right?
Now let's come back to present day. When I walk to the street corner to buy a few apples, I not only pass hundreds of people squawking away on their cell phones, but I see the fruit stand guy standing there with his Bluetooth ear piece and shiny new Blackberry Bold. While I'm smelling and feeling his fruit, he's chatting away -- possibly to another fruit stand guy, or to someone else of little importance.
Hypothetically, he could be on his fancy phone because he's making all sorts of fruit-oriented deals -- trying to get the best fruit from all over the globe, just to sell to his loyal customers on a dirty street corner in New York City. But since that's ridiculous, unrealistic, and hypothetical, why on earth does the fruit stand guy need a $300 cell phone?
I'll tell you why. Within the past ten or so years, we as a society have started to believe that we are as important and interesting as that life-saving doctor or that big businessman who's swimming in money and ex-wives, when in reality, we're not -- not even close. Even though I've called out the fruit stand guy and made him the culprit, we're all in the same boat -- yes, even I am.
Having a cell phone is one thing, but having one that checks email, features high-speed internet, and God knows what other potentially-pornographic applications, seems completely unnecessary. We are not important or interesting enough that we can't just wait to get home to check phone messages or e-mails, or find out the name of that actor who was in that crappy movie you saw in theaters five or six years ago, but has been in some other better movies recently, and sort of looks like a better-looking version of your gay uncle's ex-boyfriend (answer: Mark Ruffalo in View from the Top).
I remember when my family had one big, clunky computer that never worked properly, and was often blamed for my parent's distanced relationship. Internet was reached by dial-up (which was invented by Satan), and everyone had an AOL screen name which resembled your name, favorite television show, or celebrity you'd never sleep with, followed by five or so irrelevant numbers.
Using the internet was a privilege. I would sign onto my AOL account only after my father, mother, and older brother were through with the computer. Now that I think about it, the computer was very much like a bath tub was at the turn of the century for immigrants. Anyway, after I checked my e-mail, which consisted of a mistakenly sent e-mail filled with typos from my mother and a chain letter from a pedophile, I would talk to a few friends, and then end my already short-lived internet session. That was it. There was nothing else to look at.
But those days are long gone. Now I am on the internet constantly. If I don't read 200 websites or blogs everyday, I might as well be dead -- or worse -- someone of my parent's generation. Gone are the days of few e-mails -- everyone e-mails me. It's come to the point where I need an expensive email blocker and an armed bodyguard to prevent people from sending me an e-mail.
My primary means of communication is through the internet. Sending emails and "chatting" on AIM, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and probably some adult entertainment site, have replaced using a phone. I don't talk to anyone on the phone -- I hate talking on the phone.
But here's the kicker -- I don't really mind it. While it may seem stressful to older generations, it's become a part of my daily and second-to-second routine. Even though I will still pass the fruit stand guy and exclaim, "the fruit stand guy has a nicer cell phone than I do," I'm really not too surprised anymore. In this day and age, the only surprise is if you haven't kept up.
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