It’s easy to cheer the marvels of our modern civilization [who would give up their car, their computer, or for that matter their indoor plumbing]. It’s equally easy to jeer [a world of people staring down and clicking into the palms of their hands wherever they go]. Maybe it’s best to neither cheer nor jeer.
How about picking and choosing…?
Among my picks is the fact we live in an age of options. The old joke when the first model-T Fords came out was the salesman’s: “You can pick any color you want so long as it’s black.” That early 20th C was the one in which I grew up where most everything came to you in only one way. Cars, cameras and Coke. Phones, pens and toothpaste. By the unwritten rules of that culture, even boyfriends, girlfriends, and dating came with specific parameters.
Sorta cozy for those of us who lived that life. Sorta crazy for those today who didn’t. Today’s social catechism is to have as many options as possible. A natural outgrowth of having and heralding as many rights as possible. To take a quick course, simply stroll the shelves of your supermarket, the menus of your restaurants, your car showrooms, oh and the thousands of menus on your computer.
So many choices…so many opportunities…so many delicious decisions. What makes it so stunning is today’s poorest vagrant in Central Park actually has within his reach more options than most of the kings and emperors of the ancient past.
Please don’t think me ungrateful. Or antediluvian. But aren’t there times when too many pre-packaged options make it too easy for my lazy head and heart to craft some of their own options? I mean, have you ever walked through a Hallmark Card display where you can say “I love you” in any one of 37 pre-written verses penned by some facile mind in some company cubicle somewhere in corporate headquarters? And don’t tell me they give me the option to “fill in your own words,” because someone in one of those cubicles wrote that for me too…!
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