Saturday, July 25, 2009

We are all sick

It’s been just over two weeks since we last heard about Alexa Longuiera and, unless you had fallen down a manhole during that time, you probably know about her.

Actually, if you had fallen down a manhole, chances are you are Alexa Longuiera.

The 15 year old from Staten Island was behaving like a typical teenager on July 11, meaning she was walking down the sidewalk and preparing to send a text message because that's all teenagers do these days. The text was not coming from her phone but from a phone that a friend had just handed her.

That’s right, she was with a friend, making the ensuing incident even more unbelievable (and hilarious if you are a comedian who has devoted the last 15 years to writing jokes about technology)

As Ms. Longuiera continued to tap away at her phone, and her friend exhibited all the awareness of a hibernating bear, neither noticed an open manhole on the sidewalk. Suddenly Ms. Longuiera was gone, albeit temporarily. After plunging into the hole, she climbed out via a ladder that, up until July 11, had only been used by sewer workers.

Thankfully she suffered only minor injuries yet that didn’t stop her parents from announcing to all media outlets that they planned to sue the city for not properly marking the manhole with a sign that, in all likelihood, should have said, "STOP TEXTING AND LOOK DOWN!" I have been unable to find any information on whether a lawsuit has actually been filed but it sounds like a dispute that could easily be handled by Judge Judy.

We all know that text messaging is a distraction. Texting while someone is speaking with you is downright rude. Texting while driving can lead to accidents. Too much texting can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. In short, texting is a disease.

But as far as I’m concerned, texting is just one of the litany of afflictions that has been created as a result of our infatuation with technology. Behold, let me introduce many other illnesses that are sweeping the world, much like swine flu. The only difference is that wearing a mask can prevent swine flu. These “cyber-diseases” can only be avoided by eliminating technology in your life. In other words, they are here to stay.

Friend overloadus – Sudden memory loss that comes from having too many Facebook friends and being unable to remember who they are, what connection they have to you and why you even befriended them in the first place.

Twitosterone – A chemical that oozes through your body, causing you to actually feel as if you are tweeting something of interest, even though your last three Twitter posts were, “Just ordered large latte” immediately followed by “latte arrived” and “drinking latte now. Mmmm good.”

Skype-i-sode – The horrible feeling that occurs when the Internet connection you are using to make a free international call using Skype goes down. Symptoms include loudly repeating profanities, smashing of keyboard with fist and the horrible realization that your “free” call is about to get VERY expensive.

Over-endorse – Similar to a drug overdose except the “user” has succumbed to the temptations of asking too many LinkedIn contacts to endorse his or her work. Treatable via an intervention program in which all the contacts confront the user in a locked room and confess they cannot remember him.

Accountus Interruptus – Being notified that an email account has been cancelled due to lack of use. Primarily occurs when the victim has set up accounts via Yahoo, Google, AOL, MSN and Hotmail yet has suddenly neglected all of them in favor of Facebook.

EBay Dysfunction – When an item the victim posted on eBay expires with no bids, no questions and no “watchers.” Also known as “shooting blanks.”

Match.con – Posting an on line dating service photo that bears absolutely no resemblance to your real life appearance.

ISomnia – Suffered by anyone who stays up late downloading needless applications for their iPhone

YouTubeaphobia – The fear that the boss will enter while you and your fellow employees are watching YouTube videos

World Wide Webisode – A hallucinatory incident where the victim is convinced he is being watched by the team that created Google Earth.

And finally…

Longuiera-itis – Running, crashing or falling into anything while text messaging.