No time for the rest of the world

One fairly recent development that troubles us is the isolation (and insulation) that some modern devices are bringing to our populace.

A tragic example of this insulation was the poor chap who was jogging on the beach on the East Coast and was hit by an airplane trying to make an emergency landing. The fellow didn’t hear the plane coming because he was too busy listening to his MP3 player through the buds imbedded in his ears.

While this was a billion-in-one chance, it is an illustration of how being so into the toys of the “Me Generation” can be downright deadly – as well as anti-social.

Or take, for example, the casual neighborhood walk. It is amazing how many of the walkers are wearing those earbuds, ignoring their neighbors also out for a stroll. A conversation is out of the question – the distant look in their eyes never focuses on a passing person.

They are too busy grooving to the beat of “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone.”

In our parents’ day, such behavior would have been called rude. Today, it is termed really being into your playlist.

We are not knocking the invention of the cellphone or the MP3 player. They are fabulous devices. But some of their effects are not healthy.

Give us the toys of bygone generations, like the yo-yo and the hula hoop. Except for an occasional black eye from a flying Duncan or a displaced hip, they were perfectly safe. And, it is an easy argument to say they benefited society.

First lady Michelle Obama says hooping is a great way to fight childhood obesity.

As for social networking, we can personally testify that ineptitude with a yo-yo is a great way to have the whole neighborhood laughing with – or at – you.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.