Monday, 24 July 2017
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

The day we buried Jessica and got naked on Snapchat

By  Mark Thomas Jun 26, 2017

There comes a point in everyone’s life when we just can’t keep up with the pace of modern life. We look back with ever “rose-tinted” nostalgia at the times when we were younger and our knees didn’t creak when we walked up stairs. When we looked at ourselves in the mirror and wondered “where did that hair come from?” Now I look in the mirror and wonder “where did that hair disappear?”

The speed on innovation is just getting too much for me and I am wondering do I really need that confusion in my life. I can’t help think that my generation is a blessed one. We remember the times before computers, the internet (well of course if there were no computers the internet would be useless), of mobile phones and countless apps. My generation is the one that would sit every Sunday by the radio taping the Top Forty pop list on a cassette. We would hammer the record button is an attempt to edit out the adverts and the presenter and then spend a week listening to the same bloody tape until we wore it out.

Then the Sony Walkman came along and we could listen to our heart’s content and on the move, well at least until the batteries lasted. I know live in a time where tapes are extinct, the Top Forty has disappeared (to be replaced by the Top Forty downloaded tunes from the iTunes!!!) and a Sony Walkman is probably worth millions to a retro collector.

And then the cassette would get eaten by our Walkman and we would rewind the tape back inside with a pencil, those were the days when technology couldn’t exist without a pencil.

We now live in a time where everything is on one device in our pocket – our Smartphone. Yes as we generally get much dumber we have started to give our products the prefix Smart. Smart Car, Smart Phone, Smart House, Smart Windows, Smart Watches...every bloody thing is smart apart from the person actually using it. Apps of all shapes and sizes have “changed” our lives for the better, or have they?

“Can you explain this Snapchat to me I really don’t understand it,” I asked a much, much younger friend. “Well you can take photos and send them to friends immediately, and the great thing is that the photo only stays for a maximum of ten seconds and is then deleted,” he smiled. Ten second and then it gets deleted what the hell use it that? Of course this showed the gap in the age groups, from generation to generation. It turned out, after more explanation from my friend, that teenagers use it to send semi-naked photos of each other, in what is called sex texting. WTF! Well at least it is safe sex I guess.

So into this mix of Smart products comes a new player – my wife. If there is anyone who has resisted modern technology then that is my wife. Apart from Facebook, which she describes as like visiting the “green market” and having a good chat, she is in a black hole of technology. For her a piece of paper and a pen rather than a computer and a keyboard or anything smart. She has been hanging onto desperately an old and rather outdated mobile phone for the past few years. She still gets excited that you can change the ringtone of a mobile! She has never owned a “touch” screen, no, it’s buttons for her. That was until “Jessica” (yes she gave her mobile a name) fell on the ground for the millionth time (after being drowned twice in the sea) and committed suicide. Time for an upgrade as we buried Jessica.

Pretty much the only choice left when she visited the shop were touch screens, although she did have her eye on a specially made mobile for the elderly that had buttons the size of an M&M. It was with a heavy heart that she walked out of the shop with a touch phone. I already knew in advance how this learning process would look. It was like watching man discover fire all over again. When you are used to an array of tactile buttons and now are faced with no buttons it is a culture shock. Of course within the first few hours I had a call every minute, or rather a pocket call as she played with the mobile. Then my phone rang for the eighty-seventh time “Just checking it works,” she answered and hung up immediately. I don’t know if she hung up on purpose or just slide her finger over the wrong button. The digital world has getting up close and personal with the analogue world right in front of me.

The first question came “how do I change the ringtone?” I knew it. And then “can you download some apps for me tonight,” she added. As soon as she said that the Snapchat formula shot across my mind. “Do you want Snapchat?” I had to ask. “Is it useful?” she replied. Well...maybe.

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