With a few exceptions over the last 2,000 years or so, humans have been in general agreement that they did not want to become their parents. But I'm on the brink of having it happen to me, whether I like it or not.
It's hard to identify a single event that made me feel as though the world is passing me by. There are so many to choose from.
Let's take Father's Day, for instance. I was dining with my family at a Manhattan Beach restaurant, with a spectacular ocean view, when I noticed that a cad at a nearby table was completely ignoring both his child and the Pacific Ocean. His head was down through the entire meal, gaze fixed on an electronic gadget, and I know what you're thinking:
I should have politely tapped him on the shoulder, strangled him and smashed his tablet.
But I didn't. Instead I let the hostility build inside of me, as it so often does.
This happened not long ago, when I was told there's a way to have calls to my personal cellphone ring on my company smartphone, and I could then cancel my personal account but maintain that phone number. This is the sort of thing people tell you nowadays, and you accept it on blind faith. But it's never as easy as they say.
I went to Google Voice, as instructed, and got lost trying to figure out which number I was porting and which number I was importing. Not that I knew the difference. But that was the least of my problems. To proceed, I needed the PIN for my telephone account.
Will it be much longer before you need a PIN to open a box of crackers?
You need PINs and passwords for everything, and just when you memorize them, you're required to change them. At any given point you've got 12 or so variations of the same basic password but can't recall which one unlocks which door.
I don't give up easily, though. I forged ahead on my phone consolidation project, digging up a PIN and locating account numbers, and then I had to answer some security questions. You've seen these things. What is your mother's maiden name? What was your favorite restaurant in college? Which of the seven deadly sins did you commit most recently?
I answered; the computer said I was wrong. What's maddening is that you can't even argue. I kept trying, but here's the response I got:
"PORT-OUT: RESOLUTION REQUIRED."
My resolution was to keep my phones the way they are, and to hold people who've cracked the system in even greater contempt. And they know who they are.
They're the same people who have 10,000 nearly identical photos on their smartphones, half of them selfies, which is an era-defining term when you think about it. Without all that photographic evidence, they'd have no memory of ever having visited the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower, because they were too busy tweeting their silly photos when they were there.
Does anyone recall the simple joy of anticipation when you took your film to be processed and couldn't wait to hold snapshots of your vacation in your hands?
Wait, that sounded too cranky even for me.
After all, I tweet, I stream, I hyperlink. I might even buy some Google glasses, because who doesn't want a miniature computer a quarter of an inch from his cornea?
"Become an Explorer," says the Google website. They're "designed for those who move" — as opposed to those in comas? — and cost only $1,500.
You have to admire the discipline of the creators. The world's glaciers are melting and millions of children die of hunger and preventable diseases each year, but the brightest minds are able to focus on an essential consumer product designed for those who move. I'm not sure how Google glasses work, but I think you can do your taxes while riding your bike and programming your waffle iron, if you can remember the PIN.
I hesitate to fork over the $1,500, though, because the moment I buy a pair, I know they're going to come out with computerized eyeball implants and I'll feel like a sap.
That's the way it is with Apple and Google ruling and reinventing the world every 10 minutes. They're even more powerful than the cartels, and they're feeding similarly insatiable hungers.
Who could ever have imagined that Google would own San Francisco? The company has shuttles all over the former counterculture capital of bohemia to ferry its lost-boy workers down the peninsula to the Google "campus," with its volleyball courts and free laundromats, 18 cafeterias and replica of SpaceShipOne.
Speaking of S.F., how about the Google I/O convention up there Wednesday? I'm not sure what I/O stands for, probably Indoctrination Organization. Anyhow, the company unveiled plans to keep you connected to everything, all the time, without interruption.
I am personally sold on the Android Wear smartwatch that Google featured at the convention. Why? Because, as the website suggests, "Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need and shows it to you before you even ask."
OK, so maybe I am becoming my parents. If that means my days are numbered, so be it. As long as I don't have to remember a password to get to the other side.