Tutankhamen was buried with fifteen gold-plated chariots along with various other stuff he obviously didn’t need. Next thing you know, all the pharaohs were stuffing their pyramids with everything but the kitchen sink (actually, there were a few kitchen sinks with hieroglyphics saying “This is a kitchen sink”).
I realize this isn’t the time of the pharaohs, but you see how things catch on. You never know what’s going to be the next craze. I’m waiting for some rich octogenarian to have cable piped into his crypt after he dies. It’s not the craziest idea in the world. Think how much fun it would be, going around cemeteries, guessing how many channels each crypt has.
Now, since I don’t have a crypt — and I doubt very much I’ll ever have one — I’ve decided on the next best thing: I want my smartphone left on when I die. I’ve already stipulated this in my will. My lawyer’s even been given authority to negotiate new cable packages to keep the cost down — even if it’s sports.
Here’s my thinking on this: How many times have people died and everyone says, “I never really got a chance to talk to him, you know, seriously talk.” That’s just the way we are these days. Nobody’s having intimate conversations because we’re probably standing in the middle of a Walmart.
We’ve gotten so bad, the University of Essex did a study back in 2012. They wanted to see how cellphone technology was affecting social skills. It turns out fifty-four percent of people born in the age of the internet agreed with this statement: “I prefer texting people rather than talking to them.”
And it’s not just kids born with a silver mobile in their hands. According to a Common Sense Media study, they found that twenty-eight percent of teens felt their parents were too tech-addicted.
A Pew Study broke it down even further. They found we spend more time on social connections than cultivating deeper real-life relationships. Supposedly, we’ve gotten so bad, we don’t even need to be beeped or vibrated anymore. We check our mobiles even before the call or message comes through.
Our lives simply aren’t our own these days. We’re talking more and more, but essentially saying less and less. This is invading every aspect of our lives, turning conversations into quickies. Actually, we’re turning everything into quickies. We’re turning quickies into quickies.
Did you know one in three people check their mobiles right after sex? That’s according to the same Pew Study. Some even admit to checking during sex, while a whopping twenty-eight percent check their phones instead of sex.
If we’d rather check our phones than screw, forget about forming deeper personal relationships. And if we’re going down that road, what chance is there we’ll “seriously talk” to someone before they leave this world?
The strangest thing I’ve seen lately is messages on Facebook, saying “Our good friend passed away last night.” It’s amazing how many people leave notes like, “What a shame. Never met him, but, gee…” or my favourite: “We’ve lost one of the greatest songwriters of our time. Wait…I just read it again. This is Jack Lennon not John Lennon. Wow, Jack died, too, huh?!”
Do these people even attend funerals? I doubt it. They’ve done their bit saying a few words on Facebook. And you can’t attend every funeral, can you? Besides, what’s the reception like in funeral homes? Do they have Wi-Fi? I wouldn’t be surprised if funeral directors get asked this all the time.
I know I’ve asked, but I’m leaving my phone on when I die. I need good reception. If funeral homes want to cater to our every need, I think this is imperative (I’m expecting a flood of responses with a draft proposal stipulating all funeral homes must have Wi-Fi).
Now, before you go thinking I’m making too much out of this, I’m really just keeping up with the times. I know my friends. They’re so connection crazy these days, they’ll appreciate me leaving my phone on. When the time of my departure comes, I’m sure they’ll ask something like “Is this really true or another false alarm? Call me if it’s not true. If it is true, well, I don’t know. I’ll check and see if there’s a Ouija board app.”
You see my point. I don’t want anyone thinking I’ve left this world without some form of future communication, especially if you’re one of those procrastinating friends who posts pictures a year after someone died. I know they cover it up by saying “In fond memory of my uncle who died this time last year.” Come on now, you know you forgot the poor guy’s funeral.
I’ve also told my lawyer to save messages, just in case I’m not available for one reason or another (cloud hoping, wing dusting, etc.). One of my friends might say something profound, which is just the sort of fodder Facebook needs right now. I think someone posting “This is what I said to my dead friend,” is a hell of a lot more interesting than Betty White still being alive.
Now I’ve just got to figure out how to keep my smartphone charged. That’s another discussion for my lawyer. I should probably text him now (and maybe see if there really is a Ouija board app).
How about you? Do you think we’re too connected? Will you sign a petition to have Wi-Fi in funeral homes? Is there a Ouija board app? Let me know at: email@example.com
Robert Cormack is a freelance copywriter, novelist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details. Coming soon: “Would You Mind Not Talking to Me?” a collection of short stories.