story du jour
. . . human beings roamed the earth as upright creatures,
arms swinging as they walked through the streets,
hands free for scratching the heads of passing dogs, for picking
flowers (weeds, mostly) that grew through the cracks of sidewalks,
and for waving at fellow human beings that one recognized as friends.

These were all exhausting, time-consuming endeavors, to be sure, and at
some point during the last century, man decided to simplify his life. Much
of the walking around was certainly a waste of time, he decided. Why not
invent a device to eliminate the burden of walking? And what better place to
begin with, he thought, than in one's own home, where leisure time was so
much effort? Hence, the remote control was born. Now man was free to sit
motionless in a chair until required by his body to stand briefly in order to walk
to bed. Energy had been saved and certainly man would put it to good use
the next day.

Man grew fond of the device called The Remote, and missed it when not in
the comfort of his home. He wondered if he could create another gadget that
would serve the twofold purpose of simplifying his life while filling the void
that was left when the piece of smooth black plastic was not in his grasp.
Hence, the beeper was born. Man wore the beeper firmly attached to his
belt, where he could reach down easily to stroke its comforting surface. He
reveled in how it had simplified his life, as he ran to pay phones to return
calls to clients, brokers, patients, babysitters and family members.

But it was not enough.

There was something missing: buttons. Man had grown quite enamored of
the buttons that ran in neat rows across the surface of the remote, allowing him
a certain level of playful interaction with the device that had miraculously transformed
his life. By now he had collected perhaps half a dozen remotes. They lay sprawled
across his coffee table like so many eager puppies, all vying for his attention. Each
held a number of mysterious and complex functions that could be called forth with the
manipulation of the buttons, and man felt sated with static occupation.

So how, he wondered, could he compensate for the void he felt while in the company
of his passively dull beeper? Hence, the cell phone was born. Finally, man
(and of course it is understood that we mean women and children here as well)
had something of interest to caress throughout the day. Life was changed enormously
for the better. The cell phone had freed man at last. With this button-rich marvel he
was able to multi-task life to its fullest no matter where he was or what the circumstances.
The cell phone was there to share in life's important moments, such as weddings and funerals.
Its comforting ring reminded all those attending these solemn or
celebratory occasions that they, too, were connected to the vast melting pot of clients,
brokers, patients, babysitters and family members urgently seeking their lifeblood.

Oh what could equal this ubiquitous companion that holds our hands through
all stages of life, as we careen through traffic or walk hunched with purpose
down city streets, through silent museums, into darkened theatres and intimate cafés,
across remote beaches . . . . . . and as we walk past wary dogs, past flowers growing
through sidewalk cracks (weeds, really) and friends that wave a hand
upward to adjust the angle of an earpiece?
© 2001 wagging tales, inc.

a tale for telling
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