Monday, October 13, 2014

CAUTION: Technology may be hazardous to your health

Before I begin this rant, let’s get something straight. The word "technology" in my vocabulary means only a personal computer and a cell phone (not a smart phone whose intelligence exceeds mine!). Those two devices are the extent of my entry into the 21st century’s mysteries of domesticated electrons (or whatever it is that runs that "techy" stuff).

But even my tentative entry into that electronic world has convinced me that technology can be hazardous to your health! For many years we’ve known about wrist pain (carpal tunnel syndrome) as a result of spending too many hours keyboarding. We can develop blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) in our legs, back pain, and stooped shoulders (or should that be "stupid shoulders"?) from too much time spent sitting at the computer desk. Eye strain and hallucinations can result from uninterrupted hours of staring at a computer screen.

Fingertip numbness can occur from pounding the keys of the computer keyboard in frustration after too many hours of inability to complete a task. This can lead to hearing strange voices as your numb fingers hit incorrect keys and bring up advertising for stuff you’ve never heard of before! By this time, you have a full-blown case of computer addiction and information overload.

Cell phones have different health hazards. A pain in the neck is one of the first symptoms of overuse. That progresses to a permanent crook in the neck toward the ear accustomed to balancing the cell phone on your shoulder. Scientists are not of one mind on whether the use of a cell phone causes radiation to your brain. They all agree, however, that continuous overuse can result in an enlarged, cauliflower-shaped ear. Like the old game of "telephone," constant use can also cause the spread of inaccurate information which may lead to broken friendships.

So why do we take these health risks? Why do we endanger our well-being with these electronic boxes? Advertising has told us that they will make our lives more convenient, transactions faster and more secure, and we will be more accessible to our friends and important information.

Well, I think advertising has sold us a bill of goods! Tell me about convenience when I have just spent twice as long registering on-line than if I had used a pen and paper. Tell me about faster when I have to boot up for the umpteenth time because the wi-fi system has gone down again. Tell me about security when Chase Bank, with all it levels of security, has been hacked into and customer data has been stolen. As to better access to our friends, what about the non-friends who infect our on-line accounts with viruses, or strangers who come out of the woodwork "liking" us. Not to mention our access to scammers who promise us a fortune for the cost of only a few dollars. And, of course, there are the ads that pop up in every possible location trying to sell us stuff we don’t want. And important information? Indeed, it is there, but it’s usually buried deep under a mound of UNimportant information or appears only in the small print.

All of this is pushing me toward a health problem that I have not yet found listed in any of the medical diagnostic books. It could be that I am the only person suffering from it but I suspect more cases will occur in the future. The disease is "technology induced paranoia".

The initial symptoms are subtle; just a constant repetition of the question "Why?" Receiving no logical answer, the disease grows more serious; I’m becoming convinced that technology has been invented for the sole purpose of frustrating me! It exists primarily to make my life miserable. Otherwise, why can my husband solve a computer or cell phone problem in 15 seconds that has been bugging me for hours? The whole field of electronic devices is out to get me!

And I know that they’re coming for me! Can you hear them? They’re coming up the steps to the front door! I know what they’ll do. They’ll grab me and carry me off to a small, windowless cell containing nothing but a pencil and paper! Without a trial, I’ll be declared an enemy of the Technological State and left there in prison to scribble my life into oblivion!

Help! Can’t somebody rescue me from my suffering in technology-induced paranoia? Is there no hope? Oh, woe is me: I even had to use the electronic box to write this complaint against it!!