founder of M.I.L.D.E.W.
Men with Intimacy and Learning Disorders Experiencing Women
At the insistence of my family, in case I fall down somewhere and don’t have a cowbell around my neck, I was given a cellphone for my birthday. I’ve never had a cellphone. They spent something like half a kidney to buy the damn thing, and now I’m supposed to pay more than I spend on gas every month to keep it up. I think it’s an I-Apple.
Big deal, I had heart surgery. And so what, the operation took seven hours. I’m only in my freaking fifties for God’s sake, I’m good to go … not to say I always know where I’m going, especially now that I can’t see that well. Which brings up the fact that I’ve pretty much figured out this whole cellphone present from the family was just a ruse to get me hooked on facetime.
Look, I get it, I’m eating the dust of progress, but whenever I think of facetime I don’t know, it’s not that I want to, but I think of just one face, the face of Mark Zuckerberg. Is it me? What is it with that face? Sometimes I wonder if there is a God.
I know my having a cellphone definitely runs counter to my image as somewhat of a curmudgeon, the whole kRIS Krankle/ Kris Kringle thing, and I admit I’ll miss witnessing the shock in people’s eyes when I tell them I’ve never had a cellphone. Believe me, those puzzling and often vacuous looks of bewilderment are worth the price of admission.
But there’s a big problem doing this cellphone thing, especially with facetime. Let’s start with what seems to be the world’s addiction and need to be seen. I’m not sure I understand the urgency. Have you ever seen what faces look like on facetime? There are some really odd-looking people on the other end of the telescope.
Unfortunately and unexpectedly, one day I saw my face looking back at me on my computer, and not only do I think I’m way better looking, but it scares me to think I might really look like that.
There’s a reason why we have only a dim light above the mirror in our bathroom, mainly because in that light, I’m still blond. So, I’m telling everyone from now on if you want me to do facetime, I’m doing it in the dark. I realize this is the same thing as talking on the phone, but I will have to choose to ignore that.
Then there’s the yelling. For some reason, older people seem to yell when they’re on facetime. The one time I did do family facetime on the wife’s IPad, our adult children had to remind us they definitely understood what we were saying, and they’re not mentally-challenged.
I’m not sure if that’s just the wife and me, the yelling that is. Sometimes, we’re hard of hearing each other and to be honest, at one time or another, we’ve both considered if the other may be mentally challenged … but we’re good.
Actually, there is something a bit deeper that concerns me about facetime and cellphones, and it begins with a complaint I heard in one of my M.I.L.D.E.W. groups awhile back.
One of the group members shared that he didn’t like being on a cellphone because so many people were obsessed with multi-tasking, making it difficult to distinguish heavy breathing from an obscene phone call. He added that he was especially afraid of facetime. So I asked him, “What does multi-tasking have to do with facetime?”
He answered, “What if they’re, I really don’t want to say this, but what if … you know … what if they’re on the john or something? I saw my girlfriend do that once, not facetime, but she was talking to some car dealer on her cell when she was on the freaking toilet! I’m thinking dude, what if people did that on facetime?”
Like most experiences in the bathroom, this vision seemed to be painful for Godot. And in case you’re wondering about the name, all you need to know about Godot is that, yes, he renamed himself. I snuck a peek at his drivers license and he’s really Gasper Regis Von Bleek III. I wonder how long he waited to come up with a new name?
The greater issue in my book, is the whole multi-tasking thing. As far as I’m concerned, I know I’m old school here, but a wise man once said at a Safeway I frequent, “You can never do two tasks at once as well as you can do one … like when George tells Jerry about trying to eat while he’s having sex.”
Or when my daughter calls me from NY City walking in between business appointments … she’s out of breath, bumping into people, and sometimes she blurts out ‘F**k off, asshole’. I’ve learned not to take that personally.
Multi-tasking – I actually looked it up. The concept involves computer language, a term invented or at least tagged with language emerging in the 1960’s. It essentially described a computer doing two things at once.
The term eventually found additional context as an expression of popular respect for the American housewife, apparently in response to so many male breadwinners coming home and asking “Honey, did you have a good day with the kids? Were you busy? Were you able to paint the house like we talked about?”
So I get that multi-tasking in the feminine world of Father Knows Best was a kind of sit-com Girl Scout merit badge that supposedly offered identity on a blue ribbon of condescension disguised as appreciation.
The wife told me that. She’s good at that stuff, and I get it, I really do. But like someone in group said recently, “If men are pigs, then how come everyone loves bacon?” I’m pretty sure I know what he means.
But as it’s applied today, the statistics are in – whether you’re at work or at play, a human being can only concentrate on doing at the max, two things at once. It’s true … life is like two hands on the piano. There’s no third hand.
I’m doing my best to adapt, really I am. I’m on Verizon who kindly calls me every week to see if I want to upgrade to something I apparently need today. Somehow, AT&T and T-Mobile have my new number as well, and they hope to call me family.
I know this isn’t cool to say, but really, at this time I just don’t want any more family in my life, I just don’t, none of you, unless you’re a grandkid … and even then I’d have to think about it – kRIS
Dr. Vanilla’s first DJ gig was The Thrilla in Vanilla in 1992 after which he went on to be a total unknown except to his relatives. The following audio clips are taken from Amy’s Answering Machine by Amy Borkowsky, a hilarious sequence of pleas from a daughter to her mother to stop trying to control her daughter’s life. The CD can be purchased new or used from Amazon.