Getting the message

Michael Greene, Staff Staff, March 19, 2001

It's wonderful! It's marvelous! You clop-clop it out, push a little guy around, point the whole rigmarole to the moon and away it goes to a hut in Nepal where your daughter and new son-in-law are honeymooning.

Not only that, you don't even have to take care how you spelled rigmarole because there's a teeny, weeny character inside the clop-clop machine that went to college and in the blink of an eye is able to check to make sure that you spelled it correctly.

That my friends is progress.

But what really happens these days? All day long we get the messages to their destinations, but the more days go by the less messages really get "through" from sender to receiver. It's not you and I but rather "it" and "it" having a cold conversation.

The other month a school superintendent, and last week a customer service person, told me that no one talks to one another although they are six feet apart in their stations. It's message, message, message! I was going to say it's like living in a gigantic apartment house with numbers on the door. No names. Period.

Years ago it was different, even in the apartment house. At least, at that time, Mrs. Goldberg was yoo-hooing Mrs. Bloom through an open window as to whether the cake she recommended "rose" in the baking process. Nowadays the school superintendent can't even ask the kindergarten teacher how her daughter Rosie's chicken pox are doing or how did Sunday's baptism go. Period.

No wonder we're reading so many stories and meeting so many people filled with "rage." It's not that they are "bad" people but rather that they have no one to talk to civilly so they have to resort to anger to get attention. The other day I heard that rage is becoming a science and the gals and guys that record such things have it broken down to voice rage, brake rage, finger rage and close-call rage, just to name a few.

No wonder I can't get myself to purchase the latest computer model. I still love to see the whites of the eyes of the salesperson, but all I get to see are daily specials in the mail and on the dopey box.

More and more I do less and less talk with people my age who are part of the gray-top set. They all have little machines tucked away in their vest pocket or pocketbook and love to watch the tiny light go on saying: "You've got e-mail." Nowadays, not only don't the "kids" show up at mom's but they don't call anymore either.

But I have to level with you. I'm really kidding about all this clop-clop stuff. In fact, just the other day the sweetest, most beautiful, most menschlich kids in the world got together and wanted to buy the Ol' Swami here the newest in computer hardware. I love them for it. But to tell you the truth, I've researched the whole matter and found out why it's the hottest thing to blow up on the Nasdaq. It goes all the way back to Julius Caesar, who when he received bad news clopped off the messenger's head. Yes! The bearer of the bad news. However, nowadays, when you get bad news by dot-com or fax about your latest order having to be delay-shipped for three months, all you can do is kick the hard drive or crumple the fax.

Stay tuned. Next time we'll talk about your cell phone. I don't have one of those either. Shucks.

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