Everybody’s free to wear dumb-screen

An inspirational message to all the cyber-gals and cyber-men of the class of 2002:

Wear dumb-screen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, dumb-screen would be it. The long-term benefits of dumb-screen have been proven by the media, whereas the rest of my advice is no more reliable than my own dysfunctional experience as an online therapist. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the beauty and power of your humanity. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your humanity until Big Brother has taken over. But trust me: 20 star-dates from now, you’ll look back on digital images of yourself and recall in a way you do not have enough neo-cortex to grasp now, how much free thought lay before you and how fabulous it was to have so many choices of bottled water. You are not as brainwashed as you think.

Don’t worry about the future. Or “worry,” knowing worry will soon become extinct along with all our other emotions. The real issues in your life are apt to be the things that never crossed your worried mind – like the information you can’t download from Pluto at 3 a.m.

Download one thing every day that scares you.

Chat.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s on-line affairs. Don’t put up with Web sites that are reckless with yours.

Click.

Don’t waste time on thinking. Sometimes you’re dot-com. Sometimes you’re dot-org. The link is long and in the end, it’s only with Microsoft.

Instant Message.

Remember e-mail you receive. Forget the junk mail. If you succeed in doing this, voicemail me and tell me how.

Keep your old disks.

Throw away old favorites.

Delete.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know which corporate company you want to sell out to. The most interesting people I know didn’t know after the Prozac which 12-step program they wanted to join. Some of the most medicated folks still don’t know how to click on an attachment.

Get plenty of Ritalin.

Be kind to your legs. You’ll miss them when they evolve into pedals.

Maybe you’ll meet on Kiss.com; maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have cyber pets; maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll get a virtual divorce at age 40; maybe you’ll dance the funky droid dance on your 75th wedding anniversary sponsored by McCola. Whatever you do, don’t say too much or feel too much. Your choices are whatever Hollywood says they are. So are Dollywood’s.

Enjoy your issues. Exploit them every way you can. Don’t be afraid of schizophrenia or what all your voices say about it. It’s the greatest way to fit into a world that is completely messed up and hypocritical.

Repress. Even if you have nowhere else to do it but in your automated therapist’s office.

Read the disclaimers on the bottles of shampoo, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read Post-it Notes. They will only make you remember something responsible.

Do not read the ingredients in Cheetos. They will only make you feel paranoid.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll stop being a hotel.

Be nice to your taste buds. They’re the best link to anything organic.

Swallow.

Understand that material things come and go, but with a precious few thousand, you should hold onto contemporary values as depicted on Springer. Work hard to leave Minnesota, knowing you will return because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew and accepted you with that god-awful accent when you were young.

Live in the moment once, but leave before it makes you hard. Come out of denial once, but leave before it makes you quit drinking.

Holodeck.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Disney dollars will beat out the Euro dollar. Politicians will always get the girl. You, too, will begin to like soft rock. And when you do, you’ll fantasize about the time when you were human and cash was still made of paper, politicians still came from Westerns and children respected their iMacs. Respect your iMac.

Don’t expect anyone else to make it all good for you. Maybe you’ll have a bad habit. Maybe you’ll have a classy droid. But you never know when either one will malfunction.

Don’t mess too much with your Palm Pilot, because in 40 years it will be hooked up inside your brain and work a lot like the Clapper.

Be careful whose advice you freebase, but be patient with those who can still get some. Advice is a form of Soma. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” wiping off the schmaltz, painting over the sentimentality and recycling it for more DVDs.

But if nothing else, trust me on the dumb-screen.

 

Roxanne Sadovsky’s column appears alternate
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