That’s not how it’s done anymore, is it?
Remember when things all happened at their predetermined times and accordingly to some semblance of order? Saturday morning cartoons come immediately to mind. The lead up and waking up to of Saturday morning cartoons for a young boy was something akin to an oasis in the middle of a desert for a thirsty traveler. You knew something was out there on the horizon, could see it “shimmering” in the distance, and when you finally reached your destination, it was pure ecstasy.
These days? We wait for nothing. Why? Because we don’t have to.
Personally, I blame Doc Brown and Marty McFly for this. They started the craze of getting what you want when you want it no matter what the consequences. Who cares about the potential evil reign of Biff Tannen or the integrity of the Space Time Continuum when true love is in jeopardy? It comes back to the age-old lesson of, “just because you have a time machine, doesn’t mean you have to use a time machine.” The worst part is that as these two 80s superstars get to play around with history, I’m still waiting for my hover-board.
This all comes to mind as I have the ridiculous joy of watching the NHL Playoffs with my 4-year-old son. He is into it, he has thankfully adopted my favorite team (NJ Devils) and we even drew up a playoff bracket to track the progress of all remaining teams. But, as Doc and Marty so casually ignored in their adventures, there is a downside to all of this.
The remote control. Or more specifically, control.
As a parent, you will quickly realize that even your best intentions can have the complete opposite outcome of what you planned. Teaching him how to use the remote seems harmless, right? Wrong. Potentially one of the worst ideas I’ve had in a long time. The problem lies with DVR and my boy’s perception of “live” TV.
He just doesn’t get it. He’d rather rewind just so he has something to fast forward. He wants control. He is missing the magic of the moment in lieu of the television being under his command. He cares less for what and why and more for when and how. The hard part for me is finding fault with something that I probably would have done myself when I was his age. Patience is not my strong suit and I can honestly see myself doing the very same thing as a kid.
But, the thing I’m trying to wrap my head around is if this is a bad thing or if it’s just… different. Not so much good, not so much bad, but simply different.
This is life these days. Whatever you want you got. The magic of waiting for Saturday morning cartoons is replaced by instant access to any program you want via YouTube, Google, or your favorite app. Remember when you had a question and had to remember said question until a time when you could ask a particular someone who might know the answer?
Now? Google it and the answer is yours.
But again, I can’t say that any of this is a bad thing. What we have here is unprecedented technology granting us access to everything and anything not requiring Level 4 Government clearance. Who knows what this will lead to? The next Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison might have that much more of an impact on the world because of this on demand availability of information. What if the next great software platform is something that takes a healthy stab at global hunger because of such unlimited, unimpeded access to information?
In short, the good thing about all of this is that if you can think it and imagine it, you can pretty much create it.
So, I’m going to officially declare my support for this new dynamic. My boy can have the remote and trick himself into believing he has control over the TV all he wants. Marty and Doc can rush through time wreaking havoc, messing with people’s lives all in the name of love and today’s geniuses can have access to whatever they want, whenever they want it.
Me? I’ll wait.
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 4/28/12.