Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let's Talk...

Is it just me or have people stopped having conversations? Of course we all know people who won't shut up, especially when talking politics or religion. But do family or friends talk to each other anymore? Sure we have to talk to the boss at work or co-workers. But even there e-mail or text seems to be the preferred method of communication.

I watched two of my daughters sit on the same couch and text each other. Hello, you are sitting beside each other! Open your mouth. Some people do call on the phone to ask a question when one person is upstairs and the other downstairs in the same house. Some people will text and then follow with a picture all from their cell phone.

Since we can't text or use a cellphone while driving, who will talk? Just let the machines do it. Smart phones are getting smarter. Soon we will be able to use credit/debit cards from our cellphones. We can watch a movie on our cell phone. That way we don't have to leave the house and ask someone for a ticket or popcorn and a drink. We can get directions on a GPS system. I'm sure the men of the world will like that. They won't have to drive around and around town looking for something while the wife complains, "ask somebody" Let the "box" do it.

The very act of actually talking to a human being may become a lost art. Of course there will always be people in bars. They love to talk, and talk, and talk. The more the drink the more they talk, or attempt to. Have you seen the commercial featuring a girl breaking up with her boyfriend by text while she sits across from him at the same table? Some cars can tell what they are doing or how they are feeling by e-mailing you a status report. "My oil is a quart low and the left rear tire needs air."

We used to send birthday cards to people. That required going to a story and picking out that special card for that special person. Then we would actually speak the words "Happy Birthday". If our favorite grandparent,aunt/uncle, brother/sister needed to talk, we listened, sometimes in person, occasionally on the phone. Now it's a text in some weird abbreviated script which sometimes is hard to understand if you are not up on the texting lingo. The image of "phone sex" has forever changed. $20 per character, emoticons are extra.

Oh well. I'll stop now. I've got to talk to someone. Do dogs count as someone?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Religious Debate?

About a century or two ago, the Pope challenged the Jewish community of Rome to a debate.

The Jews looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky. So they finally picked an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people to represent them. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the rules of debate. Not being used to saying very much, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The Pope agreed.The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews win."

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger, to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him, that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible. "What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."

"And then?" asked a woman.

"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."