Sometimes I think strange thoughts.
I know — big shock to regular readers. Both of you.
But, do you ever wonder about how some things came to be? Like, for instance: who was the first person who ate a kiwi fruit? Have you seen those little things? I like them, I like them a lot when they’re ripe. But if somebody hadn’t told me that kiwi was delicious, and I just happened onto a kiwi … tree (?) in the primordial forest, I don’t think my first thought would have been “hey, let’s take a big bite of this odd, hairy little alien egg-looking thing, just to see if it’s edible.”
For that matter, how desperate were the first people who ate potatoes? You know, somebody pulls up a plant, and there’s this dirty, bulbous rock hanging from it (I think—I’ve never actually seen a raw potato). So all the village elders gather around and stare at it for a while. Maybe, they stare at it long enough that it starts to sprout legs and arms and stuff. And *that’s* when somebody says, “you know, if we slice that real thin and fry it up, we could have a seriously tasty snack.”
Of course, leave it to the Russians to figure out how to turn that into alcohol. Gotta admit, somebody showed some foresight when they did whatever it took to turn that little rock into food.
As a trumpet player, I’ve always pondered the beginnings of the brass family of musical instruments. I can understand the flute, because you can hear the musical sounds when the wind blows across reedy grasses and through small cracks in doors. But who was the genius who thought to themselves, “if I buzz my lips together to make that obnoxious sound that my friends punch me for, and do that into a tube of some kind, I’ll bet I can make a really loud . . . er, obnoxious sound.” Come to think of it, does explain a lot about the attitude of most brass players.
And, speaking of the arts, I’d love to go back in time to the day that some sadistic dance teacher said to their class of young girls, “this would all look so much better if you would all just jam your toes into tiny little wooden boxes, and then do the entire dance standing on those boxes,” and punch them in the throat. I love the ballet, and marvel at the athleticism and artistry involved, but, as a father of a dancer, and as the one-time carpool operator for the dance company, and as somebody who watches aging dancers hobble around with no ankle or knee cartilage, I gotta think there should have been an intervention somewhere along the way.
Wait a second. That all probably started in Russia. Which explains vodka…
Along these lines, in retrospect, it probably would have been better for all involved if Mark Zuckerberg had lost his court cases more spectacularly, and Facebook had been killed in its cradle. Social media, which began innocently enough (much like Skynet) and had its virtues, has descended into a cesspool of angst- and anger-driven pathos which has no equal in human history. From the creepy (my wife and I are having a discussion about the Zoo Lights, and, next thing I know, an ad for Zoo Lights is the third thing in my Facebook feed) to the Orwellian (Twitter blocking all references to Hunter Biden’s investigation … until Hunter Biden confirms the investigation) to the evil (the extraordinary links between the rise of social media and the rise of mental illness in youth, not to mention the ease with which predators use social media to target kids), the current evolution of social media renders it almost must-block for any parent with teenage children.
Do yourselves a favor, parents (especially in “remote schooling” times): watch “The Social Dilemma.” You’ll never look at your kids’ cell phones the same way.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.