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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Sunday, November 18, 2012

He's got the whole world

Business people of a certain age will remembering having a Palm Pilot, and being very cool in airport terminals about the malleability of its calendar, to-do list, contacts, and calculator, and that satisfying tapping/handwriting with a stylus. We could even sync with the desktop in the office.

Things have moved on a bit in the last 15 or 20 years. Where we used to have a little of the office in our hands, useful for business trips away, now we have the whole compelling world. Or so you would think by observing the rapt and downward gaze of pedestrians, diners, commuters, worshipers.

The symbolism is very powerful. The hand makes me human like almost nothing else, and to have the answer to any question, the contact with millions of Friends, the knowledge that someone could be thinking about me, texting me, loving me, sending me dog videos RIGHT NOW, all this in the palm of my hand no less - that must make me superhuman, god-like in fact. It is me that has the whole world....

Oh false god! Oh icky iPhone! Aberrant Android! How much better to look in the eye than the screen, to watch a strange bird unencumbered by a search of Sibley, to hold in the hand the last white phlox of the year and not take its picture!

Oh, how long can I last before I must have one?

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