OK, I've been a good boy and tried to go paperless in my dealings with business and guv-mint, and I don't know for sure if it has been completely fulfilling. I ask myself, am I a better person? Am I a smarter person? Has it helped me reach my full potential as a human being? As a Magdalenian?
I'm pondering these weighty questions as I sit here waiting for my internet service to come back online. It's been down for a few hours now, and I'm fidgety and starting to mumble to myself, and my left eye is beginning to twitch. To quote Freddie Mercury in the Queen song "I'm Going Slightly Mad," I think I'm going slightly mad.
Well, that may be an exaggeration, but it is, at the very least disconcerting. Maybe the lilies of the field don't need the internet but not so the rest of us who've jumped on the web wagon.
We aren’t told why the internet goes out. I mean, maybe someone back at Internet HQ tripped over a cord and the plug pulled out. Maybe everybody was watching the latest so-called "must-see TV" and blew out the bandwidth. Maybe it was a couple of hundred Hitchcockian birds roosting between the poles.
Whatever the case, we're left to our own devices, analog as they may be. At least my typewriter doesn’t need booting up. I always like to keep it saddled and spurred just in case. Call me retro.
Nevertheless, as a lot of us have forgotten how to occupy our unplugged selves, as a public service, here are 10 things to do while waiting for the internet to come back on.
• Take a selfie of you waiting for the internet to come back.
• Twiddle your thumbs. Or try twiddling something else.
• Practice wiggling your ears. Then, one at a time.
• Look blankly out the window as life passes you by.
• Finish reading that book you started last winter.
• Write a letter and improve your penmanship. Impress your pen pals. If cursive's good enough for the Declaration of Independence, it's good enough for them.
• Finish last week's Socorro Stumper.
• Straighten out your sock drawer.
• For that matter, straighten out your ducks. Get them all in a row.
If nothing else, be like me and wax poetic about those halcyon days before we had to worry about usernames, PINs and password protection.
Speaking of those unfettered times, while thumbing through a stack of papers in the attic room, I ran across something I was saving to use for an article. Written in 1920, it found a new audience in the '60s and '70s, and there was even a 45 of it that made the Top 40 on the radio. Titled simply "Desiderata," it pretty much rings true today and I like to brush up on it every year at Thanksgiving.
It's worth repeating, so here goes:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly. And listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, for they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, for they are vexatious to the spirit. Never compare yourself with others. You may become vain or bitter, for there will be always greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements, as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble. It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of life. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many people strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love. For in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings, for many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be there. And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Oh look, the internet's back.