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Electro-Dysfunctionality Disorder

By Ted Twietmeyer


You may be wondering what "Electrodysfunctionality Disorder" is. We'll get to that later. Early analog cell phones could only place and receive phone calls and do nothing more. That was their intended function which they did fairly well. Sure, there were areas without service or cell providers. Providers strived to out-brag each other about the number of regions in which they provided cell service at THIRTY CENTS a MINUTE for ingoing or outgoing calls. If your phone was called but you didn't answer it? You were still charged by the minute. Bragging about service area coverage still goes on 30 years later, despite cell towers almost everywhere you look.

 Analog cell phones had one advantage - when a signal became weak the call could continue, even if it had some noise in it. With digital phones we have today, the call is simply disconnected.

 Soon more advanced cell phones came out. These phones had simple, useless office-type functions and very simple video games. It was an attempt to get you hooked and at the same time, an effort by the cell industry to get people to run out and buy a new phone. It's quite possible at some point that the cell phone industry will force everyone to throw their phones away if it cannot handle 4G signals, just like analog cell phones were forced into the trash when all analog cell signals ceased several years ago.

 Today, you see endless numbers of people endlessly working their thumbs tirelessly in an effort to give themselves carpal tunnel syndrome. Thumbing away, sending pointless text or voice to someone at the other end who probably could care less about what they have to say. People do not realize that apps exist for one main purpose - to keep you obsessed with your phone and to increase your hollow love affair with it.

 There was a woman we saw go into a grocery store several years ago. It looked as though her non-bluetooth phone was attached to her ear. I swear she could have let go of the phone and it would have dangled from her ear. Into the grocery store she went. Then came her on-going narrative, "I just entered the store." Moments later, "I'm in the peanut butter aisle now" followed by "What brand do you want? .... What size?" On and on she went giving a blow-by-blow narrative, not realizing that:

 1. Yelling into her phone won't help her weakened signal go further
 2. Her loud voice annoys everyone around her like fingernails on a blackboard
 3. How stupid she looked and sounded

 She was yet another slave to her phone and probably didn't even realize it.

 Where I work is one floor underground. There is no cell signals there and I'm glad of it. Who wants to hear someone's corny ring-tone blasting out? Yet despite no cell service, people stand around in halls fiddling with their phones. Unbelievable how addictive this electronic device can become. And I used to think video games people played on televisions at home were addictive!

 Some readers might remember the fun we had as children with walkie-talkies (2 way toy CB radios.) These were a coveted Christmas or birthday gift. These radios went through old zinc-carbon batteries like crazy. Despite the fact that alkaline batteries were almost unknown and very expensive back then, we would delight in seeing how far away from each other we could walk yet still hear each other. This was years before truckers started using illegal linear amplifiers to talk to other truckers out-of-state, drowning out all the toy radios.

 Today, married adults sit in the same room, texting to each other instead of talking face to face. Just like two children who turned on their walkie-talkies for the first time in their living room after putting  batteries in their new radios 40 years ago.

 Did some of today's adults ever grow up? How long can such a marriage last? Perhaps some day, smart phone addicts like this will be diagnosed with "Electrodysfunctionality disorder." We can be sure that some drug company will come along with a pill for that, too.

 Human beings MUST have face to face communication and socializing for normal relationships not to just exist, but to blossom. There are subtle body language signs we give each other while talking and listening which are a very important part of the conversation. When texting or chatting is done on-line, you really have no idea who you're talking to or who they are. Important, subtle language signals are missing. In the back of your mind you may or may not consider that this distant stranger could be a stalker, thief, rapist, child molester or serial killer. So you used live video chat? So what! Anyone can play the part of someone else.

 Few people realize that most crimes which are solved, are only solved if they were committed by a friend of relative. A police detective told me this years ago. Police crime solving is not like how it is in televisions or the movies.

 When a stranger commits a crime, the criminal is long gone before authorities have any idea where to look, if they ever. Often it takes more than one murder or rape to figure out who the criminal is. But that never brings anyone back to life or restores virginity. Meeting someone in person you met on the web, in a restaurant for dinner, could be your last supper. There are no public statistics on how many times something like this has happened. It could number in the thousands or far more. People tend to justify foolish actions by lying to themselves that violent crimes "only happen to the other guy, not to me." You can sure that's exactly what the victims of crimes thought, too.

 Social networking sites only give you a tiny fraction of an idea who someone really is or how they think. People only be the best characteristics of their personalities online. Their darker side will remain hidden as long as possible, perhaps until it's too late.

 All of this may sound like obvious facts, but how many people really consider their own safety? Police never prevent crimes. Police only show up after a crime has occurred, after it is too late to stop it.

 In my profession I design, construct and program cutting edge electronic instrumentation of many different kinds. Designs are done from scratch and used by researchers around the world, and have worked in nearly every area of electronics. Yet despite a lifetime of doing this kind of work, I know that all electronics have a certain place in our lives. Any addiction is dangerous, whether it be chemical or electronic.

 There is nothing more important than our relationships with family members, relatives and friends. No electronic device of any kind can sustain or create normal, well maintained relationships. To think one can do that electronically is to believe it can be done while stripping out the human equation of meeting face to face. This is just as bad as someone who is their own lawyer for handling a legal problem - they have a fool for a client.

 Do you know what the number one reason is to make people buy a new cell phone? Is it new features? No. Dead battery that can't be replaced? No. It's dropping their phone into a toilet. Maybe that's exactly where "smart" phones should be so people can get on with their lives.

 Ted Twietmeyer





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