Technology Wackiness

Reducto the Absurdum: how your phone is killing comedy

Oh, Christ! Now, you gotta pack an even smaller version of your stuff. Only the stuff you know you’re going to need:

  • Money
  • Keys
  • Comb
  • Wallet
  • Lighter
  • Hanky
  • Pen
  • Smokes
  • Rubber
  • and Change.

Well, only the stuff you hope you’re gonna need!

The above George Carlin quote has been my go-to checklist for leaving the house since well before I should have been listening to George Carlin. But look at that list?

Money? Sure, but I can pay for my Starbucks with my phone, so maybe not. Keys, comb, sure. But the wallet? I’ve got Google Wallet.. on my phone.

Lighter? Smoking is bad for you. Hanky? Seriously, that’s just gross: use Kleenex. Don’t need a pen because I’ve got ColorNote. Smokes… right, bad for you.

Rubber? Maybe for some of you. And change? Again, I’ve got my phone for that.

In fact, modern technology – really, my phone – has obviated four items on Carlin’s Important Ten. Add in our modern culture, and you’re down from an Important Ten to a Handy Three.

Well, that just sucks. But I suppose you’re less likely to forget three than ten.

The thought occurred to me recently, as I’ve been watching a lot of Seinfeld for the first time in a few years. It is painfully obvious: there’s no way kids even get what Seinfeld is about. The human emotion and impulses remain the same as they ever were. But at least two-thirds of the plot devices used in the show are completely, totally irrelevant.

Lost and separated in a mall parking garage? Text your friends. Stuck at a Chinese restaurant with Elaine’s dad, wondering where she is? Check her last check-in or call her. Dating a two-face? Instagram it or it didn’t happen.

Boom. Humor averted.

Even the lowly knock-knock joke is something I suspect kids won’t really get anymore. Why bother knocking on the door when you already texted that you had arrived before leaving the car?

It’s enough to make a chicken just stay the hell on its own side of the road.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.