Michael Thomason

Michael Thomason

I remember my brother carrying on about a new thing called ‘the internet.’ He said everyone would one day use it to shop for cars, crafts, hobbies, general information, everything; even groceries. I laughed out loud. To me, not going to a store and look over a product or hold it in my hands seemed the height of ignorance. Well, look at us now. If our enemies ever want to defeat us, all they have to do is cripple the internet. We have come a long way to make ourselves this vulnerable. What if the internet were to disappear overnight? Would we survive? I’m not sure.

I saw an employee take a photo of his paycheck. I figured he was having to prove to his bride how much he was taking home, like she wouldn’t believe him. I found out later he was depositing his check electronically. Hurray! One less line to wait in, one less human interaction.

Everything seems to be done online these days. The first time I ever heard about texting, I thought it was about the dumbest idea ever. Why text if you could call? I realized sometime later the value of texting was its ability to let you compose your thoughts before sending a message, and that the message itself could be preserved for reference later. In a similar fashion, we can now take a picture of any person, place, or thing and send it everywhere instantly, preserved eternally. We just snap a photo or send a text or email on any subject great or small, and there we have it, right in the palm of our hand; and forever. The problem is, we find ourselves drowning in a sea of information we can never find when we need it the most.

On a drive to Houston, Judy was telling me all about her new ‘smart phone,’ explaining how she could surf the internet from Palestine to Houston and points beyond, all from the convenience of the car or wherever she happened to be at the time. I understood the value of having a phone handy on a trip, but could not see past that. Of course, soon as she explained she could search for restaurants on the internet and get driving directions to the nearest Cracker Barrel, I was a convert.

So I got me one of those early smart phones, an iPhone 4 I think. That rascal boggled my mind. I stared at it so much you would think I was hypnotized. Here was the perfect marriage of form and function, need and desire. I do believe I was hypnotized, come to think of it.

Everyone from nine to ninety has a smart phone on them now, everywhere they go. I see teen girls with colorful phones sticking out of a back pocket. Cool dudes and dudettes are talking or surfing the internet on their devices all the time, and for most part, accomplishing nothing. We are all addicts; hooked on technology. But what if the internet goes down one day? What if the cell towers go offline? What ever will we do?

It is much the same with money. These days, we deal more and more in plastic rather than cash. But what if your card doesn’t work because you can’t get online to buy what you want? If the power to the cell tower fails or the internet were sabotaged by terrorists, how would we survive? These and other reasons are why I think we need to have actual money that goes in wallets and change that jingles in pockets. Cash is king.

Somebody asked me the other day where the money went when stocks lost value. If a stock or investment was bought for a hundred but was down to fifty, where did the other fifty go? It was a good question. The answer is that it goes nowhere because there was nothing there in the first place but promise. All that is real is the desire someone has for a product, medium, or service and how much they are willing to pay or exchange for it. Reality is slipping away from us all. In the future, will anyone be able to survive without technology? I’ll bet a man will one day trade all his technology for a turnip if he gets hungry enough. Can we grow our own food anymore, protect ourself and loved ones? Does anyone have a talent or trade that will put a roof over their heads and food on the table? If all our technology and modern wonders cease one day, it may come to pass folks will be forced to deal with each other face to face again, like our ancestors did away back in the prehistoric days, like 1975. Near as I can tell.

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