"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are we losing something or gaining something?

So... I've been thinking about something.

A few weeks ago, my friend Tameri had a birthday and I thought it would be fun for Marcus to call and sing "Happy Birthday" to her. Being an agreeable lad and a good singer, he did. I spoke to her about it afterward and she was thrilled.

"Halfway through, I thought, 'I should be recording this'," she said.

At first, I felt bad that she didn't get to record it. I even considered having Marcus call her back to sing it again so she could. He'd have done it - he's game.

And then it dawned on me: all of our moments are recorded now.

In the old days, we just lived. Our lives passed, with Pony League baseball games played and high school graduations enjoyed and then relegated to everyone's memories. Uncle Buster told the same story of how he and his buddies went on a tear in Okinawa, changing the details each time, but no one produced a video showing what really happened.

Now every time a group of people is together, the smart phones come out. Photos are posted to Facebook. Videos are posted everywhere. It's harder to tell those tall tales.

I don't know what to make of this. Perhaps I could decide it's nothing but one new way to have fun. Perhaps I could decide that it's eroding our sense of spontaneity and even our story-telling skills.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Tameri Etherton said...

Thank you so much for having Marcus call my on my birthday! He has such a lovely singing voice! I was blown away, really. He's such a good boy.

As for your question... I think we are both losing something and gaining something. By recording everything, we are losing the spontaneity of the moment, but then we have it for all time. Sometimes we have to make a decision whether we want to experience the event right then, to feel the emotion of the moment, let the music wash over us, through us, around us, or capture it on film. I don't think we can do both because our attention is diverted.

It's certainly a conundrum.

You don't need to worry, though. Someday Marcus is going to have his voice recorded for the world to hear and you'll be able to sit back and enjoy it in stereo. Won't that be grand?

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