"Reach out and touch someone" was a great marketing campaign that began in 1979 and ran through most of the 80's. It was an attempt by AT&T to soften its image, which was that of a monolithic giant. It was, at that time a monopoly. It was "Ma Bell."
That slogan, which may seem more apropos of today's selfie generation, flourished at a time when people had to actually find a phone to make a call. Our phones were at home, at the office or in front of the drug store down the street.
That was before cell phones.
Today we all have phones in our pockets, but spend spend less time talking to each other than than we did when we had to share a land line with our big sisters. Some of us spend more time amusing ourselves with our phones than we do communicating with them.
I don't know if that's irony or paradox.
Tonight's assignment, which I got along with my fellow Chicago Now bloggers at 9:00 PM (to be published at precisely 10:00 PM) is:
"Write about a friend or acquaintance from your childhood with whom you’ve lost touch"
At this stage of my life, I can tell you that I've lost touch with most, if not all of my friends and acquaintances from my childhood. I don't even know if most of them are alive or dead.
When I think about the 50's and 60's and even the 70's and 80's, a lot of faces peer at me from the mist. I can attach names to some of them, but not all.
The one face that keeps popping out at me, though seems to be my own. I don't know if it's me or just a product of getting older, but I've lost touch with that kid, that younger me.
I recognize myself in pictures, but I have no visceral feeling of that kid. The face is as inscrutable to me as all the others. Except, of course that I know his name.
It seems that looking at old pictures of yourself should evoke old feelings. Sometimes I just stare at those pictures, squinting a bit to see if I can glean some insight into that kid's brain.
It's a moment in time. I stopped to take a picture, which often became something of an ordeal in itself back then. What the heck was going through my mind?
Somewhere along the line, I must have turned off all those feelings. Pushed them down, deep down. Was it a specific traumatic event or are some people just hard wired to disassociate with the past?
Got you thinking, didn't I?
Here's the thing, though. Once you start disassociating with the past, it's hard to keep up with the present. One day, you could find yourself looking in the mirror and wondering, "What the heck is that kid thinking about?"
The title of this piece might have seemed a bit pornographic at first read, but you may now be seeing it from a different perspective.
Perhaps, like me, you're thinking that before it all slips away, you should reach out and touch yourself.
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