I’d like to think I’m a cautious driver. I’m also the best driver in the lower 48, just ask me. My wife HATES me sitting in the front seat with her. I am a terrible passenger…….terrible. If I’m going to be injured in a car crash, I want it to be with me behind the wheel. I’d rather be white knuckling the steering wheel than the “OH CRAP” handles.
My Papaw, a guy who was a bit eccentric (in a good way of course), used to tell all us Malray grandkids of driving age the same thing. He would say, “always watch the driver in front of you, the one beside you, the one behind you, and the one you can’t see.” That is some of the best advice I have ever received. Not just for driving, but for life in general. We really should be watching for out for each other, even the people we can’t see.
You Tennessee readers think I’m about to talk about Amendment 1…….
But I digress….
One of my college buddies used to say that credit card companies were owned by the devil. He was right. Within the first two months of starting UT Martin in the fall of 1993, I had three credit cards and $ 2,500 worth of free money. I put everything on those stupid cards. VCR’s, Five for Five Roast Beef sandwiches, curly fries, and large Dr. Peppers for 10 people at Arby’s, clothes, CD’s, shoes, Oakley sunglasses, pizzas, you name it. I even bought half the baseball team snacks in Richmond, Kentucky in 1995. Sure, they all gave me money to pay for it, but it never made it to Visa. Little did I know that the bag of Cheetos was going to cost me approximately $ 75, per chip, six years later.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
But I digress……
The evil spawn of credit cards for this generation of college students are cell phones. Texting, music, pictures, Vines, selfies, Instagram, Twitter, and uploading your Facebook page are all tied back to the cell phone. You having a bad day? Pull out your phone and update your Facebook status. Did your team lose? Tell us how stupid the manager is and how he needs to be fired, then hashtag it. Want to introduce a new rap song and video? Put that sucker on Vine and maybe Jay Z will see it. Politics….we ALL want to know your views. Because, after all, your viewpoint is right, and mine is wrong. More importantly, I’m glad we can instantly talk trash to a politician or athlete without any reservation or repercussions.
There are no filters anymore…and this from someone who needs one 35% of the time.
In my two stints as the Pike advisor, I saw a rapid decrease in overall decorum via text message. It was amazing how fast a 19 year old would rip an adult via text message. The sender of said text message would immediately receive a phone call which was rarely answered.
These smartphones are running the next generation’s lives.
All the proof you need is to drive down University Street and watch the students entering the crosswalk. Most don’t even look anymore because they are on the phone. Either texting, or listening to them.
Conflict resolution is a lost art too, and I blame the cell phone. Teenagers and young adults go from “I Love you” to “I Hate you” in 140 characters or less. A young girl’s life and reputation can hinge on the send button.
I also wish I could say it was contained to the under 25 crowd, but it isn’t. Even adults have lost their way when it comes to solving problems via face to face interaction. Firing off e-mails late on Sunday nights because your feelings are hurt, on-line customer reviews after one bad experience, and heat of the moment posts on Facebook and Twitter, have done more to damage adults reputations and relationships than multiple indiscretions.
A young adult can outlive their mistakes, it gets harder and harder the older we get, to outlive ours.
It has been said a drunk mans words are a sober mans thoughts. Who would have ever thought social media and your cell phone would be more destructive than alcohol.
Remember that advice my Papaw gave me in the second paragraph? How cool would it be if we just stopped for a minute and thought about all of the people around us, even the ones we can’t see???? Every time we look down at our phones, whether it be at dinner with our family, or driving down the road. Every time we decide we’re going to vent on social medial about something that bothered us today. Every time we hit “send” on a message we probably shouldn’t be sending.
Just stop and think about the unintended consequences. Who am I hurting? The loved one in front of me. My friend beside me. My classmate or co-worker behind me. Or most importantly, the person I can’t see.
Man, I just made myself feel uncomfortable………………