Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Dear Henry,
      For a laundry list of reasons, I do not own a television. There are a whole bunch of reasons for why I choose to not own a television. One of them, is that I do not want to see the commercials, and have their messages and values seep into my soul.
      You see, dear Hank, I was recently tricked. I have a Iphone 4s. And on that Iphone 4s there is an incredible app called NFL Mobile. The nice thing about NFL Mobile is that it allows me to watch most Broncos games this season, the season when they will finally win that elusive Super Bowl (you heard it here first.) What the ITunes store neglected to warn me, however, when I purchased the app for free, was that with the Broncos games, came commercials. With the commercials, came very, very messed up values.
      For example, the following commercial promoting an app called NFL NOW probably airs 130 times a game on the NFL Mobile App. And about the 27th time, it hit me how convoluted it was. The commercial can be found here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om4AoXZEAVw
goes as follows:
"Now listen up NFL, I want the NFL the way I want it, and I want it now! I want my team, I want my own stream! I want highlights and breaking news my way...."
      Apparently, this app allows people to watch updated videos about their teams they root for. The message is clearly that I shouldn't be bothered and inconvenienced to have to wait for the NFL news that interests me.  If I want something now, I should get it now. I shouldn't have to wait. Not only shouldn't I have to wait, but I shouldn't have to undergo the nuisance of having to watch news about other teams that I don't care about. Like, who cares that Geno Smith throws the football like a third grade school girl? And why should I have to suffer through watching "highlights" from the Giants debacle against Jacksonville? Everything in the world revolves around my convenience. This ego mania promoting commercial is indeed very troublesome, and I believe antithetical to Jewish values.
       We live in a world of instant gratification, and we cannot be bothered to work or struggle for things anymore. We cannot wait for things any more.  Long gone are the days of sitting for 3 minutes waiting for your AOL 3.0 to dial up to the internet. Gone are the days of dialing 10 digits to reach someone on the telephone. In Judaism however, we assume that spiritual pleasure is the most intense, real, long lasting pleasure there is. When biting into a steak, the pleasure is immediate, but long forgotten 30 seconds later. It is fleeting. When visiting the elderly, doing a mitzvah,  or keeping kosher, the pleasure is not necessarily immediate-- but it is eternal. We believe in an afterlife in which we are rewarded for our efforts in this world-- even if that reward comes 120 years after the initial action.
        Now instead of having to bother speaking to someone I simply text them, in order to avoid the inconvenience of a real conversation. And if I do want to burden myself to speak to a person, Baruch Hashem there is a new app called Glide, which enables me to speak to them, leaving a video message, without having to go through the burdensome back and forth of a real live conversation in which I would actually have to listen and respond to what they say in real time.
      And furthermore, the other day I was speaking to my friend who was complaining to me about the very unfortunate reality that when using an Iphone in order to respond via text to a missed recent call, you have to press two buttons, in essence moving your right index finger a tiresome two times. In contrast, the new, handy dandy Droid, enables you to only have to suffer through one click, instead of two. Similarly, the Droid has the nifty Glide feature when texting, which means that its users no longer have to suffer through picking up their fingers between typing individual letters. I personally am strongly considering switching over so I won't have to continue soaking my index finger in a bag of ice, after it is so sore from a long day of moving up and down between letters of text messages.
      Lets say that swiping instead of typing, and one click instead of 2,  saves a person 1 minute a day, or 7 minutes a week. I hear the value of such time saving technology if we ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH THOSE 7 minutes! But what are we doing with the time saved? Are we using it to go pick up the trash littering our streets, helping old ladies cross the street, going out and having a meaningful conversation with a homeless person, visiting the sick, saving the whales, making a blessing, or baking blueberry muffins for our new neighbors? Or are we egregiously wasting them reading ridiculous articles on ESPN about how Lebron James decided not to toss some baby powder in the air any more before his basketball games?
      I suffer from this more than anyone. And that's why today was a blessed day-- when I arrived at work, I saw to my utter  horror that both my Ipad and my Iphone were out of battery, and I forgot my battery charger at home, and no one except for me still uses the Iphone 4S, so no one had a charger to lend me. So something weird happened-- when I spoke to people, I didn't rudely, constantly stare down at my phone like I usually do. Between meetings I didn't throw my precious time out the window by reading nonsense on the internet-- I actually used my brain. I thought. I tried to figure out where I stand on current events, relevant issues going in in Furgeson, Israel, and across the globe. It was mind-blowing.
     I encourage you, my thousands upon thousands of devoted readers across the vast expanse of globe to think about this epic rant, and figure out how it can apply to you. Maybe you also suffer from ego-mania. Maybe you waste more time than you should. Maybe you try to take every shortcut you can rather than truly toiling and working for something. Whatever it is, in life we need to try to identify areas in which we can improve, and to grow to become better people.
    Forever yours,
    Danny Wolfe

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