Hey, Pico Iyer, Welcome to 2012

5 Jan

Dear Pico,

I was like you. I didn’t want a cell phone. I held out for years, and when I finally broke down, I resisted getting a smart phone. It was, afterall, just for making calls. I fought the good fight against joining Facebook, but my mother wanted me to join so we could keep in touch. My mother, Pico. She uses the internet. Twitter? A dumbed down version of RSS. Screw that noise — for a few more months. Let’s face it, technology and the internet are here, and are becoming more and more ubiquitous. But we can excercise a little self control without spending “$2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly… because you can’t get online in their rooms.” And, without paying “good money” for a program that blocks our internet access. Shit, Pico, I will save you a few bucks and let you in on a secret, you don’t have to launch Firefox. You can even unplug your CAT 5 cable or switch off the Wi-Fi .

After reading your article, The Joy Of Quiet, I went out and bought an iPhone 4S. Reading about how you and your friends can’t manage to spend time with your families or go for walks without intentionally leaving your phone at home or turning it off actually drove me to get more technology. I even considered letting Siri write this letter, but thought I would go old skool and type it. You left Manhattan for Rural Japan so you could “more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot?” Have you ever heard of upstate NY? How about the Dakotas? We have plenty of podunk places in America where you could have accomplished the same thing. Guess what Pico? My new iPhone works in Japan. I have heard that in Tokyo you are never more than 100 yards from a cell phone tower. Want to talk about a people that are wired. The Japanese are probably the most turned-on people in the world.

Look, Pico. I love technology. I get more information in minutes from Twitter than from a day of print or television news. I can freely choose which stories I would like to read more. Not like television news where I am stuck listening to how some cross country bicyclist lost his cat Pikachu in the Rio Grande for 20 minutes. I can disconnect whenever I want. I do not have to think about turning off my phone so that I can talk to my wife. I don’t have to intentionally leave it at home when I go for a walk. And, I can sleep in on weekends, make my coffee, and sit on my ass for hours, all without even thinking about my phone or the internet. If you can’t, you need some serious help. You probably have Inability to Switch Off Syndrom(ITSO) – your colleague Roger Cohen should be CC’d.

Man up, Pico. Get some self control. Slap every one of your friends who spent money to NOT use the internet. And stop trying to make me feel bad for playing Angry Birds in the bathroom.


– A Happy Addict.


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