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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: The Text Book Case
By Linda Germain


As I putt-putted along in my antiquated cyber-mobile, the transmission blew and I realized I was pretty much stuck in a rut on the side of the information highway; the one, by all accounts, headed to a technologically superior future.

It did no to good to strike out walking to find a phone booth. They’re obsolete. Even the fictional Clark Kent, were he real, would have no place to change from his transparent, horn-rimmed disguise. For a character who has been known to fly, he is full of mysterious contradiction, but then again, so are most of us. For example: my home telephone rang. I said a pleasant, “Hello.” A strong and confident sounding voice began to chatter like a magpie.

For a few seconds I believed the senatorial candidate for my state had called for my opinion. I wanted to tell him about the potholes in my life and to ask him about his wife and kids and their new dog and whether he was getting enough rest (I truly am a concerned citizen). There was no provision for that kind of human exchange.

The man wanted my vote. I wanted him to LISTEN to me. His recorded monologue was a mirroring evidence of the way most of the world is spinning out into a disconnection-direction. Mr. Candidate-of-the-People always appears in a furious rush to the next rally or rah-rah session to not answer even more questions from those of us stumbling around, blinded by strange high-speed communication headlights on a road we do not recognize.

After the art of letter-writing slipped away with no signs of resuscitation, even our terms for the word “conversation” took on new labels. Now we interface, or dialogue or type in code on tiny machines with keyboards no bigger than a deck of cards.

While basking in the comfort of my own naiveté-prison, a place where many adults of a certain age who are charged with ignorance of the new-speak are incarcerated, it occurred to me there is no reason to be a victim of the mind-boggling shortcuts that are blowing us off of a perfectly good road. Millions have traveled there most successfully before this so-called age of enlightenment came barreling in to change and challenge.

Common sense has escaped, or is hiding in shame. Adults are copying the behavior of youngsters who can’t seem to stop recording every thought, ad nauseam. There is a growing epidemic compulsion to share microscopic particles of our ill-perceived, stunning brilliance; and then, it must be typed forthwith and sent post haste. Consequently, driving and text-messaging is a very real and sobering phenomenon that has created countless tech-wreck victims.

We’re talking about dying and killing others while writing notes, folks…not about war or sudden heart attacks!

Is face to face conversation so time consuming and repugnant that in our impatience we are forced to resort to using gobbledygook spelling while maneuvering something as lethally dangerous as a 3000 pound vehicle?

Will future generations look back and wonder how humans talked and laughed and cried and counseled with each other while rocking on porches or singing around campfires or chatting over kitchen tables and back fences? Once it’s forgotten, will that archaic concept of communication even compute to a future of passive techno-junkies?

My darling Aunt Louise unknowingly possessed an innate and charming ability to share in the kind of conversation that refreshes. She fairly twinkled when I would show up on her doorstep.

“Come in,” she would gush as she handed me a glass of delicious iced tea, “sit down and tell me everything.”

We usually ended up laughing, even with not-so-funny things in each of our lives, but sharing them in person halved the pain and doubled the joy.

That seemed so natural. Constant texting seems contrived.

Virtual, as opposed to actual, dialogue is derailing many of us as we attempt to keep up with the traffic flow on the new super-duper information highway. Can we be rescued as we wave a white flag and search for a way back to a reality check-point? There is an answer.

TEXT has a different meaning in God’s Holy Word. It’s where we find knowledge, reproof, guidance, and comfort. His kind of texting will improve our paths to healthier relationships and take us in better conversational directions--not necessarily faster ones.

The good news: When the Lord says, “You turn,” if we’ve studied His map, we won’t be as hopelessly stranded as I first thought.

2 John 1:12 NKJV

Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Francy Judge 10/21/10
This has a great message told in such a fun, creative way. Terrific!
Caitlyn Meissner10/22/10
From political candidates, to technology, to conversation, you had a lot of very strong messages here. I loved the Bible verse you included at the end. Great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/24/10
You make so many great points. I am typing on a deck sized computer right now, but I still long for that real face to face companionship. Your message is one we definitely need to pay attention to.
Mona Purvis10/25/10
Great job defending the face-to-face communication that is getting beaten up with today's technology.
Excellently written, pointed, and yet very effective.
Charla Diehl 10/26/10
Two big thumbs up--I completely agree with every point mentioned because I still enjoy writing and getting letters in the mailbox; and face to face conversations are much more fun and real than anything the tech-world offers.
Loved the wrap up to this entry.