Hemingway, you ain’t.
Big presentation at the weekend. It was our Dad’s 80th birthday party. He was a sixties marketing guy called Don, though more of a packaged foods man than Don Draper. We put together a video from old shots of a bygone, excellent era when dads had their own chair, smoked constantly and dressed properly for work.
Trawling through the black and white stills, looking at immaculately turned-out grandmothers in airports and dashing, denim-free uncles at kid’s parties, it was clear that adults knew how to be adults in those days. They had a natural authority, demonstrating to the children how they, one day, would be expected to behave.
Rewind to another party a few weeks ago, a 40th. The talk is of iPhones.
I mention that I’m thinking of getting one, though I’m bothered by the cult-like conformity of my marketing industry brethren. If their iPhone told them to wait for the special spaceship in matching tracksuits and a pineapple in each hand, their only question would be: green or ripe pineapple?
A happy iPhone couple wanted to help me make the decision.
“Show him the fishing app!” the wife says. “It’s awesome!”
The excited husband pulls out his iPhone and taps on a fish icon.
“So it turns your phone into a fishing rod. You cast it like this.” He makes a casting motion.
“Then you wait for a bite. Here’s one now! Feel that!” I feel the phone. It’s vibrating like there’s a small fish attached.
“Now you reel it in,” he says, making a little rotary motion with his finger. “Cool, huh?”
Really, has it come to this?
Adults, with children of their own, wetting their pants with excitement about a screen game that, if it came in a box from John Sands, would say ‘Recommended Ages 3-7′?
I’m all for youthful energy, enthusiasm, and high technology. But for the good of the human race, can we direct it into things a bit less infantile?
As the hand-held digital device habit devours all before it, it’s time for some serious reflection on where the human brain is headed.
Forget extended teenagerhood. We’re talking pre-school stuff here. The evidence is all around you:
Adults wearing shoes with velcro fasteners.
Every coffee comes in a toddler’s sippy-cup, as if we can’t be trusted to hold an open drink.
Adults talking in imaginary cat language.
I could go on, but it’s too depressing. Soon there’ll be nap time on mats at the office. Enough of this, I’m going to get my tracksuit and pineapples. Come and get me, spaceship.