Put the Cell Down

Aug 14, 2019

To the Editor:

Readers who are familiar with “The Fish Story,” Jay Mann’s weekly column that has run 25 or 30 years straight in The SandPaper, know there are often curious tidbits of commentary on current events, on life experiences, and on keen observations of the natural world … or on human nature. To those of you who turn past the column because you have little or no interest in fishing, I highly recommend you reconsider.

I direct your attention to a fine example in his Aug. 7 column (“Ugly Fish Proliferates … And Attacks; Keep Rover in Mind If Celling Along).

Here are the key points:

“… For a dog, an everyday walk is always far more than a mere dump-and-go session. … Mixing cellphone blather and walks is one of the cruelest blows to the usual positive energy exchange twixt man and pooch. … Balk all you want but I promise you, pooch fully knows when personal bonding time has been compromised, reduced to mere leg movements: no interplay, no energy exchange, no passion. What’s more, the dog is made even more uneasy when its once-best friend … is talking into thin air.”

Wonderful insight, I say.

And fully applicable to inter-human relations, from what I observe.

I witnessed the young man at the playground with his young son or nephew, engaged in an alleged game of catch with a toy football. Only the guy was playing one-handed, catching the ball occasionally, and often making a poor return throw to the poor little boy. Because the guy’s drone-like attention was on his cellphone.

Then there was the young woman at the playground with her young daughter or niece, pushing her on a swing. Only the woman was awkwardly pushing one-handed, entirely oblivious to the joy the little girl was trying to feel even though she might sense being a bit neglected in this bonding moment. Because the young woman’s drone-like attention was on her cellphone.

These are just two of many modern-day examples I have personally observed, with a deep sigh in my heart for the little ones.

“You can disagree all you want,” Jay continued, anticipating disdain from cellphone addicts at what he wrote. “But check out the expressions of dogs being walked by gabbing owners. So many are missing something in their gait and expressions. Better yet, check how your pooch acts when you’re on the phone, and then when you stop and focus full attention on the walk.”

“Hear, hear!” says I.

Put down the cellphone awhile.

And just live.

Neal Roberts

Lanoka Harbor



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