“It’s just not used anymore!” Harold Gruse proclaimed to his buddies at Crevinston’s Diner. He rubbed his unshaven chin with his left hand while the fork in his right hand assaulted the overcooked scrambled eggs on his plate. “I think that’s why we come here every morning. We’re keeping something alive while everyone else is trying to kill it.”
“That’s just nuts, Harold,” George Hallibreeze interjected, chewing toast around his words. “Look at the tables surrounding us. Aren’t all of these people talking to each other?” A look of victory took over George’s wrinkled face, his eyes telescoping out like a cartoon character witnessing something shocking.
Jeff Livingston leaned over his bowl of butter with a taste of grits and defended his friend of 45 years. “They may be talking to each other, but they’re not having conversations. We don’t just talk here. The five of us are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.”
“The weight of the world; what are you talking about?” Doug Rallinger questioned, adjusting his bifocals from a recent slide.
Jeff leaned back and made sure all of the men were looking at him. “Listen, we discuss the news of the day, the news of yesterday, and forecast the news of the future. But we do so much more than that. We listen to each other, discern what’s important and what’s malarkey, then we engage in intelligent, witty debate dedicated to preserving the lost art of conversation. We are all able to talk openly about any issue, and anger or frustration never rises to such a level as to stop us from saying what we want to say.”
“I still don’t see how…” Doug tried to interject. He was surprised how quickly Jeff cut him off.
“The rest of the world uses blogs, cell phones, voicemail, and five minute chats to communicate. They don’t listen or truly think about what they’re about to say. God gave us brains, and we’ve created so many ways to communicate that we forgot how to do the very thing that all those contraptions were made for.”
Harold entered back into the discussion, “That is exactly what I’m talking about. All these inventions and still the number one way to really understand what anyone is trying to say is to have it said face to face.”
The waitress came up to the table and filled all the men’s coffee cups. “So what are you all talking about today?”
“Well, Harold says he really likes his new cell phone and said he’s able to send texts a lot faster with it,” George began. “And Jeff just got his Skype account all set up and talked to his grandkids in Florida this morning. Doug just started his own blog about Chevys and I finally signed up for voicemail forwarding so I won’t miss anymore calls.”
“Wow!” she replied. “You guys are so up on all the new gadgets. I don’t even have the Internet at home. It’s still not available in my area unless I use a satellite dish.”
As the woman walked away from the table, the five men began laughing hysterically. “Yep, Harold, the only thing we’re keeping alive is the art of illusion,” Doug quipped, retrieving his bifocals from the center of his biscuits and gravy.
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