Monday, July 31, 2006

Modern Memory

My wife and I were shopping in Wal-Mart the other day for a variety of things. I went to find my things and didn’t notice that she went to find her things. When I turned to ask her a question I could not find her. The rows and rows of clothes, the aisles and aisles of good reminded me of the corn fields I used to leave friends in to find their way home. On the farm in Indiana my parents would allow me to invite friends to stay overnight. One of our favorite gags was to take the friend into the corn fields, where the corn was taller than they were and see if they could find their way back out again. Every row looks alike and there is nothing to climb on to find your way. Kind of like our own Hoosier labyrinth. Now you know why my friends would only come over once.

I look down rows and rows and through all the people looking for my wife but I cannot find her and I knew what my friends went through. I can’t even remember what she is wearing. Not panicking I would usually go to the front of the store by the checkout lines that would stretch for a mile and wait for her there. If that didn’t work I would go to the lost children counter and have them announce a lost husband and I would wait with the other lost children for their significant other to pick them up while watching Looney Tunes.

Now-a-days though there is a modern convenience that is the salvation of us lost children: the cell phone. I pull out my cell phone and touch number 1 and the talk button. We talk each other back together again and continue shopping. My cell phone has not only replaced my need to “stay close” but it has eliminated my need for memorizing. If you would ask me what my wife’s number is … all I could tell you is that it is number one on my speed dial, my daughter number 2, and son number three. I used to be able to memorize phone numbers and recall them years afterwards but … no more. But I no longer get lost, no longer miss important calls, and can reach out and touch someone anywhere.

When you gain something, you lose something but the question is: What is the price? What is the loss? Is it worth it? As for me? I’ll be spending less time in the corn fields.

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