Mondays with Mike: Smart phones, dumb people

July 27, 2015 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by

In its early days, the telephone (land-line variety) was perceived as a threat to family life and the fabric of society itself. It let the outside world in and let the folks inside the house out, if only by wire.

I learned about that in a memorable college class I took called “The History of Communications.”


Pretty lofty title, but it lived up to the billing. The class looked at the cultural and economic ramifications of advances in communications technology.

Disruptive technologies will always be treated as a possible threat. And that’s not all bad. Take the cell phone—and those loud, one-sided conversations in elevators and public places that included TMI like the results of an MRI or maternity test. Bad behavior, that. But it’s gotten better, partly through informal cultural policing.

And then you could take pictures with your phone. Who the hell would want to do that?, I thought.

Then, the smart phone. I resisted until my friend Seth let me play with his brand new iPhone. Uh oh. It was like the first time I used a Mac computer. I put it off, and finally gave in. And haven’t looked back.

Until now. I know you’ve seen this—people sitting with each other—but texting and reading and otherwise playing with their phones instead of paying attention to one another. I get it. It’s the new world. But I recently got busted—by a blind woman, no less—for doing this while we were out, ostensibly with one another.

The worst. I had become one of those assholes! To all my friends—if I’ve done that to you, apologies.

I’m not getting rid of my smartphone by any means. But I am going to enforce some rules when I’m with other humans. The rules are simple: You’re with other humans, turn off the freakin phone.

I’m sure I’ll have lapses, but I’m committed. After all, there are no bad phones, just bad behavior.

Darlene schweitzer On July 27, 2015 at 7:37 am

Amen!!! I totally agree with you. I try to have those same rules when I’m out with others. Not only is it annoying to sit with someone who is looking at their phones as you are carrying on a conversation, but it makes you feel less important than their phone… Good idea to stow the phone when you are with others.

Doug On July 27, 2015 at 8:35 am

Nailed it!

bigdebbyBigdebby On July 27, 2015 at 8:38 am

I hope Beth has an iPhone too. My husband Loves his. He has had it for about 2 years. I laugh when people say it is too complicated to use…and then they see my blind husband is a whiz on it. He uses it politely.

Marilee On July 27, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Love your rules for “when with other humans”.

bigdebbyBigdebby On July 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Never got a response,,,does Beth Have an iPhone? My husband could tutor her. He loves it. And he is polite in his use of the phone.

Mike On July 28, 2015 at 7:58 am

Yep, Beth’s had one for awhile. Thanks!

Bev On July 28, 2015 at 7:34 am


Annelore On July 28, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Did I see you last Friday at Summer Dance, sitting on steps and both playing with a phone? When I found a table for you to sit, you were gone…..

bigdebby On August 4, 2015 at 10:48 pm

All I know is that we talk all day long via text,with our grown kids. We get spontaneous pics of the grandkids. We get funny comments and glimpses of their everyday, very busy lives. Lots of good with our smart phones. But there does need to be a technology free zone in everyone’s life.

For my husband who went blind at 35 and who is now 70; technology has so enhanced his life. He loves his iPhone. He also loves his books and his music. He did just load 1600 pieces of music on his iPhone!

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