The Challenge

The track accompanying this week’s offering is “In the Meantime” from Spacehog’s 1995 LP, Resident

Alien. Hum along with Mr. Langdon if you like.

 

And in the end we shall

achieve in time

The thing they call divine

And all the stars will shine for me

When all is well and

well is all for all

Forever after

Living in the meantime

wait and see

 

I’m a worrier. Always have been. Very recently I lost my grandmother and a very good friend and mentor, both to cancer.

The first thing that continuously comes to mind the wake of their departure is: they could’ve lived longer.

To be fair, my grandmother was 96.

However, those who knew her would tell you she was as quick-witted as ever right up to the end and showed no signs of slowing.

The good friend and mentor I mention is Jay Slaughter who was in his fifties when cancer stole him from his family and those of us who were blessed to call him a friend.

Translation: he had a lot of living left to do.

 

And when I cry for me I cry for you

With tears of holy joy

For all the days still to come

 

I’ve spent the last few weeks worrying about the obvious—what if something happens to me?

What can I do about it?

Then it occurred to me that I’m asking myself the wrong question: Am I so engaged in what may come that it’s blinding me to what’s happening right here, right now, right in front of me?

In other words, am I so engaged in preparing for the future that it’s taking me away from being engaged in the present?

Smart phones are great, aren’t they?

A world of information right at your fingertips.

Never again will anyone ever have to make their way to big computer to find the information they are seeking.

For those of you who may still be in school, can you imagine a time when, if you needed access to an article or publication of some kind, you had leave your dorm room, trek across campus to the library and find a tangible copy of the information you’re seeking? That seems insane, right?

Don’t feel bad. It sounds insane to me and that’s just how things were when I was in college.

Before I take aim at an easy target, I would like to say that I do have a great appreciation smartphones (e.g. iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys, Palm Pilots), and even had a front row seat to their evolution.

I worked for a cellular provider from 2003-2009 and was one of the first handful of people in the Pine Belt to carry one.

I remember the exchange with my boss vividly.

Her: Wes, corporate finally sent two smartphones for us to test. I want you to use this test model.

Me: Ha!! Look at the thing. It looks like a hockey puck with buttons.

Her: I know. Cool, huh!!

Me: Well, I guess it’ll be nice to be able to text with a full keyboard.

Her: That’s not what’s cool about it.

Me: Okay, I’ll bite. What’s so cool?

Her: You can check your email on it and surf the internet!

Me: What?!?! The internet too??

 

That was 2005, and today I can’t imagine not having the world at my fingertips 24/7, 365.

I hasten to guess how many times I look at my iPhone over the course of a day. I’m on it all time. I recently purchased a dash mount for it so I can check it “legally” while I’m in my car.

That’d be the 4,200 pound moving mass of steel and highly flammable fuel that I’m responsible for not steering into you and your family. Can I not just enjoy the drive? What life altering event could possible happen between my office and Smoothie King?

 

And did I ever say I'd never play

Or fly toward the sun

Living in the meantime

something's gone

 

Of course something’s gone. We are when we are constantly checking our phone to see what’s going to happen.

Do I have to pull the thing out of my pocket while I’m having a conversation with two people standing right in front of me?

Do they not merit my undivided attention?

Do I really need to carry the thing into the movie theatre?

Is the $45 I just spent on tickets, drinks, and popcorn not entertainment enough? If I’m on vacation do I have to carry the thing down to the beach with me? When did the sand and ocean get to be not enough?

A few years ago my wife and I were able to check off a bucket list trip when we spent a full week in Sydney, Australia.

I mention this because from the time the plane was wheels-up in Los Angeles until the time they landed back in LA seven days later, both of our cell phones were turned off and.. it was awesome!

Had I had my phone with me, I’m fairly certain one of the hundreds of beautiful things we saw would have been missed.

Here’s a link if you care to see what Sydney looks like through the eyes of a couple of yahoos from South Mississippi.

 

http://bit.ly/2mVR8OW

 

I have a challenge for you. Starting Friday at 8:00 a.m., turn the vibrate alert and the ringer off, and put the phone away for 24 hours.

I know I need more work on this than most so I’m adding an extra 24 hours to my challenge.

 

Well that sounds fine

so I'll see you sometime

Give my love to the

future of the humankind

Okay, okay, it's not okay

Now, before you have a conniption, keep in mind that I didn’t say you had to turn it off, just don’t be attached to it.

If you’re at lunch with someone, leave it in the car. If you’re attending a meeting, don’t bring it with you (no one’s boss expects them to be answering emails when they should be engaged in the meeting).

Edward Everett Hale said, “Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three—all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.”

I’ll share how I did next in next month’s column and will be eager to hear how you did if you accept the challenge.

In the meantime, I’m going to concentrate on all I have now.

 

When he’s not rocking his socks off, Wes Brooks spends his days as the Development Coordinator at the DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi.  A native of Laurel, Brooks is a husband, a father, and a guitarist for the local band, The 6550’s. Email him at: 6550music@gmail.com