Where does it all go? Where do you see it ending?

Stop at an intersection in Scarborough for a red light (plenty of chance to do that nowadays!). Go at a snail’s pace through the parking lot at Cape Elizabeth High School or Middle School, at drop-off, or pick up time. Run up to Hannaford, park your car, look around.

Everybody is on a cell phone. Not vertical, upright, yakking (that is so l980s…). I mean hunched over, neck craned, looking down at small screen, the beginning of osteoporosis. Texting. E-mailing. Surfing Web.

This is our life, right? At least the idiots among us. (Some fight it. God love them). Many don’t. If we were to bury stuff in a time capsule now, you could put just a cellphone in, nothing else. It is everything. It is multi-tasking. It is five-in-one. And lots of selfies of me!

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates worked really, really hard to fill our lives with electronic gadgets. They promised “greater connectivity” among people. Cellphones, iPods. Laptops. Tablets, etc. etc.

Has it worked? Is the connectivity real? Will it last? What kind of human beings does it breed?

I envy people who have friends from many years ago. People they went to Scarborough High School with. Pals they had a blast with in college at UMF or Bowdoin or UMO or Wheaton. Others they may have bonded with from the crew from Thursday night Big 20 bowling.

Some humans stay in touch. They have reunions. Meet in Boston for a Red Sox game. Go to the beach once a summer with their pals, and the toddlers of their pals. Or they may end up bringing their emotional baggage each week to the bowling lanes to unload on the Silver Strikes.

In each case involving human beings attempting to hang on to some type of relationship with another human, you are often talking about people between the ages of 30 and 55 who made a connection face to face once upon a time.

Question: How did these people make those friends they try to stay in touch with?

Answer: Cheez Doodles.

I hung out with a bunch of guys long ago. Cheez Doodles were part of every social occasion.

Guys would sit on couches, or in chairs around tables. Sports on TV. Loud stereos and air guitar. Or play poker. Lots of screaming. Lots of hollering. Lots of Cheez Doodles. Throw one at the guy across the table. Fling one across the room. Toss one up in the air – with much fanfare – and catch it in your mouth. Ha ha ha. Hee hee hee. Human interaction. Comedy. All-important adolescent male oneupsmanship.

Twenty, 30, 40 years later, the stories are still fresh.

“Remember when Hewy threw a Cheez Doodle at Clubfoot! Got it in his Lum’s mug! He didn’t see it! Swallowed it! Then spit it out, hit Arlo! Then Pendy declared war, and Rob used a sling shot and hit Harv at about 20 paces?! Packo, The Human Dart, streamed milk out of his nose!” Yeah, man. I do. Those were the days!

Today? What is happening with our fellow humans in social settings.

Check texts. Check e-mails. Scratch back of neck.

Make eye contact. Send texts. Send e-mails. Scratch back of neck. Look up and make joke.

Then back to cellphone screen. Wash, rinse, repeat.

We are missing the boat. We are selling the current generation a bill of goods. I think we need more Cheez Doodles, and fewer gadgets.

Dan Warren is a lawyer in Scarborough who can be reached at [email protected].


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.