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Archive for January, 2012

Before Smart Phones: A Glossary For Future Generations

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

A long, long time ago in a galaxy not too far away was a planet called Earth. On this planet there were many wondrous things—objects and phenomenon that have gradually faded from Earthers’ collective consciousnesses. While Earthers may catch glimpses of the following items in the tiny viewing screens implanted in their heads, they mostly ignore them. In the interest of posterity, here is a review of the past. While most of these objects will be foreign to average Earthers—and they may question the existence of such things—we have proof that these objects actually existed and mostly continue to exist today.

People: 1) Human beings or Homo sapiens. 2) An old-fashioned term for User. 3) Living beings that interacted with each other without the aid of a computer or smart phone. In the olden days, people would sit and chat with each other face-to-face. Instead of typing “lol” into their datapads, they would actually laugh out loud. Personal exchanges were conducted by listening to users voices and reading their facial expressions. Bonding would occur based upon mutual interests and activities that took place in the Real World (see below) rather than in an on-line world, social network or game. People spoke in complete sentences, rather than using cryptic acronyms. People would sometimes sit around their living rooms discussing the day’s events. Mostly these exchanges were civil and didn’t end in a flame session where both parties screamed expletives and wished death upon each other.

Real World: What we used to call the physical world around us, the world outside our computers. Now called our Fantasy World.

Outside: The area between and surrounding buildings.

Weather: Ever-changing temperatures and natural phenomenon that occur Outside. Weather takes on various forms: wind (air that blows without fans), rain (water that falls from the Sky), sunshine (very warm energy from the Sun), humidity (similar to the air in small meeting rooms filled to capacity with no air-conditioning) and snow (shaved ice that falls from the Sky).

Sky: The area above Earth as seen from the ground. Instead of walking and staring at a tiny screen (or viewing our brain implants), users would gaze at the sky. Clouds, Birds (see below) and gorgeous vistas would delight the users. At Night (also see below), stars and planets would appear as tiny dots of light against a blue/black sky.

Clouds: Before the age of smart phones, clouds were not data storage devices. They were (and are) visible bodies of water droplets or ice crystals in the atmosphere above the surface of Earth. They appear in the Sky and are normally associated with Weather. Users would stare at the clouds in the Sky and use their Imaginations (see below) to find familiar shapes, like a dog or a horse or a user’s face.

Day and Night: Before our world ran 24/7, we divided our time between Day and Night. Generally, Night began after sunset and before sunrise. Day occurred when the Sun (see below) rose and provided illumination and heat.

Sun: 1) A star in our galaxy that provides the light and heat experienced during the Day and sustains life on Earth. The Sun’s power is self-generated without the use of lighting fixtures or furnaces. The Sun provides nourishment for plants and is the source of power for solar-powered arrays. The Sun is visible in the Sky during the day, but staring at it for long periods of time can cause blindness. 2) A source of suntans for superficial users before tanning booths.

Nature: An unpaved area without buildings or man-made structures. These wild places may contain Plants (see below) without containers, including trees. Sometimes these strange lands contain small furry creatures. Weather is unforgiving in Nature as there are no buildings to provide shelter. Starvation and dehydration can occur quickly because there are no strip malls or fast food restaurants to provide food and water.

Plants: 1) A living green decoration some users have on their desks. 2) Source of flowers, beer, coffee, chocolate and aspirin. Note: Comes in a form called “lettuce” which sometimes appears on hamburgers and sandwiches.

Birds: Actual live creatures that fly through the sky without the aid of a mechanical device or manufactured propulsion system. Contrary to popular belief, they are not angry, nor are they normally projectiles thrown at Pigs (see below).

Pigs: 1) Source of bacon. 2) An actual live animal that lives on non-virtual farms and provides food for users. 3) Pets for rich and famous users. Note: Can only be killed online by Birds—unless the Bird is large, like an ostrich or emu, and the Pig is small.

Barbecue: An event in olden times where users would gather around a gas or charcoal grill Outside, and prepare food. Men would normally tend the fire and “barbecue” the meat while drinking vast quantities of beer, and women would prepare the side dishes and gossip about the men being drunk jerks. All communication was done without mobile devices, through speaking and listening.

Imagination: What users in the past would use to entertain themselves before the Internet. Users would allow their minds to wander and conjure up stories, plans and dreams. Before computers, the human mind was capable of such activities.

Thinking: An additional use for one’s brain other than receiving information. Thinking occurs when a user says something that is original and not a quote from a Star Trek movie, a YouTube video, or a song. Thinking aided users in accomplishing tasks before computers.

Note To Earthers: in case you don’t believe any of the above to be true, try this experiment. First, TURN OFF your mobile device. Then stand up and walk to a door that leads Outside. Step through the threshold and simply look around. If you see an avatar of a user, this is a real person (see People above). Wave and say hi. You’ll be amazed at what happens next.

©2011, Janet Periat

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