Living in the moment now means capturing it for later. AP
Living in the moment now means capturing it for later. AP

Mark Washburn

Fire or ice? No, humanity’s doom is sealed by small screen

September 02, 2016 03:00 PM

It’s not the dying that bothers me, it’s really not, it’s the mocking from the other invisible natures.

Hazard, Havoc and Villainy all taunt me, smug in the knowledge that things are going their way. “Would love to geeze about old times,” Mischief chirped while breezing past, “but, dude, I’m still getting work.”

My name is Situational Awareness, and I’m circling the drain.

Oh, I can’t complain; I’ve had a good run. I’ve been helping humanity reach its zenith for the last 200,000 years or so.

I was the one who reminded the ancients to stay mindful of unseen predators, to pay attention to the offstage crackle of snapping twigs, to be suspicious of the oasis surrounded by camel skulls.

I like to think I’ve had a big impact on getting the species to top of the food chain. I was fond of the mastodons and the dodo birds, but neither had a clue about the dangers lurking about. I had lunch last week with Natural Selection and she’s still bragging about those two.

There have been challenges along the way, like that moment 30,000 years ago when the wolves tamed humanity. Who saw that coming? It changed everything.

Under the partnership, humans could get a good night’s sleep without worrying about rivals sneaking into their camps. Their canine pals stayed on watch all night (which is why they still sleep all day, because I know you’ve always wondered about that) in exchange for free meals and scratches behind the ears.

I figured then that I was done for, but humanity is endlessly clever and invented all sorts of dangerous things that must be watched, and I wound up busier than ever.

But this cell phone business is going to be the death of me.

People once strode about acutely aware of barking dogs, careening trucks and falling pianos. In every language, children were taught to look both ways.

Then, bang! In a single generation, the populace was transfigured into an army of insentient electro-zombies, unable to loco-mote without gaping into the little screens in their palms.

Their focus is absolute, their appetite insatiable. They goggle at the devices while crossing streets, driving cars and roosting in foul-ball zones.

With ear buds, the species becomes immersed in a seamless void, a bubble of hush impermeable as titanium to nature’s alert tones.

“Greatest thing ever,” said Injurious Misfortune, looking up from a large divot he was installing in the sidewalk. “Grim Reaper loves it too. Her business is way up.”

I must accept my fate. Efforts to adapt to the marketplace aren’t working.

I heard the other day that Self Hypnosis was hiring, so I called. He said he couldn’t offer anything. Said I’d be a bad fit.

So this is it, the end of times for me. Fortunately, the trudge into oblivion isn’t a solitary hike.

I am joined on the highway to obsolescence by my longtime colleague – Common Sense.

The new app Pokemon Go is attracting people all over the nation, including Raleigh, North Carolina residents. Some players were gathered in Nash Square in downtown Raleigh on the morning of July 11, and explained how to play the game.