Sorry if you came here thinking this post would be about the song Lack of Communication off the LP “Out of the Cellar” by the hard rock band RATT.
Nope. Good song though. Great riffs and licks by guitarist Warren DeMartini on that entire album too. But, RATT did have one thing right with these lyrics:
You see it your way, I’ll see it mine
Well, conversation is a useless change of line
What the hell is going on with today’s society? We live in a world where people rarely verbally communicate with each other and when they do, it often leaves something to be desired. The technology we all know and love has only strengthened this resolve as we all now are able to create our own little bubble to shield the outside world from us as we cruise our smart phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, and anything else that starts with an uppercase “I.” (You can even watch the Nickelodeon Show iCarly on your iPod or iPad)
I’m just as guilty and I won’t plead the 5th. While waiting in line, the first thing I do is whip out my smart phone to see what is going on in the world. When I go to the grocery store, I often take my iPod and headphones and enjoy some music or a podcast.
And when I do see people communicating verbally, as mentioned, it often leaves something to be desired. I realize this might come off as pretentious but I am not referencing one’s ability to master the English language (though I do think those that claim English as their first language should be able to read and write it so that it can be intelligible and legible, respectively) but I am speaking to how individuals interact with one another. People often seem very short, rude, catty, and just down right disrespectful. It seems common courtesy and respect aren’t really shown anymore.
Let’s break this down. We already discussed the I”everything” craze. But here are a few other itemized thoughts:
1. Capitalism – Our society teaches us through media imagery that being successful is having a big house, fancy cars, the newest threads, and a lot of dough. Actually, we are owed these things. It is in the Bill of Rights – somewhere. Be sure to take no prisoners and step over anyone and everything to achieve the American dream. We take what is ours – at any cost. Hello, Gordon Gekko.
2. The Golden Rule – I tend to live by the Golden Rule which states “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Fair enough. I don’t like being yelled at so I try not to yell at others. I have noticed a trend where individuals have to take crap all day from their work place or boss and don’t have the ability to dish it back. So, people in service jobs tend to become targets with the attitude that now I can take my frustrations out on someone and sorry, but you are at bat Ms. Waitress and I’m coming in high with a Roger Clemens fastball cause someone is going to feel my pain. So, as soon as Ms. Waitress gets off work and goes to get something at the store, guess who is going to feel her ire. Come on people. Rise above.
3. The Internet – Ah, the internet. It has revolutionized everything we know about present life. I posed the subject of this post to a coworker and he pointed to the Internet, especially online video games, where we can be anyone we want to be and say whatever we please from the comfort of our own home without any repercussions. Interesting. Since I don’t spend much time playing video games (nor should anyone else in their 30s), on chat boards, or instant messenger (do they still have that?), I had not really thought about this. Right. So, if I am speaking to someone face to face, I’m forced to deal with the emotion of the conversation. For example, if I yell at someone, I can pretty much expect them to go in full defensive mode and yell back. But online, I likely don’t know who I am talking to, nor do they know who I am, and therefore, once I am finished talking, chatting, typing, etc. I can just close my browser, likely never to hear from that person ever again. Hmm. My coworker continued to tell me that he felt that generations of individuals who had grown up with computers always being in their homes have likely spent so much time on these types of devices they have accepted them as normal means of communication and translated them to face to face communications. Interesting, to say the least.
So, what are we to do? Let’s all remember that a little common courtesy and respect goes a long way. Always mind your manners and some advice from another century “be kind, always rewind.” This commercial from Liberty Mutual is one of my favorite commercials. I couldn’t even remember what the product was for but I did remember the tone and subject matter within it. In the video, one individual sees a good deed being performed and in return, repays the favor forward to someone else, thus the name of the commercial “Pay it Forward.” Remember that our actions and words may be fleeting to us, but might have a deeper and more profound effect on someone else, causing them, perhaps, to pay it forward.