Is technology turning our brains to mush?
Recently a new cell phone arrived at my doorstep for me to test. I was so excited that the first thing I wanted to do was call someone. Who would be excited for me? My husband, of course. I grabbed that phone and started to press the numbers, when I realized that I could not for the life of me remember his work number. "I'll call his cell phone," I thought. But, I couldn't remember that either! I never have to think about them, because they are programmed into my contacts on my regular cell phone.
As I thought about this, I realized that I could remember the telephone number we had when I was growing up (which was a very long time ago, indeed). It was BUtler 9-3687. I could remember my grandmother's telephone number from the 1950s! It was WHitehall 1-5716. I could even remember my ex-husband's social security number! It was ... well, I probably shouldn't tell you, eh? Now, I fully realize that as we age our short term memory goes, and we retain our long term memory. But, I don't think my main problem is aging --- I think it's laziness. Because I don't have to remember the numbers, I don't bother to burn them into my brain.
Therefore, I can remember those numbers that are no longer meaningful, but I can't remember the phone numbers I use every stinkin' day. I've got the same trouble with the passwords for about fifty different on-line accounts: they are saved in my computer and I can never remember them. Do I have them scribbled in a notebook somewhere? Duh. No. I'm foolishly trusting my technology.
While it is convenient to let the technology do the memorizing, it is suddenly clear to me that it's not a smart idea. At least it isn't for me. What am I going to do if I ever have a real emergency and need those numbers?
What about you? If you lost your cell phone today, and had to use a pay phone to call someone ... do you know the numbers by heart?
Or, if (God forbid) your computer crashed ... would you have to re-build all your accounts with new passwords or do you know them all?
Do y'all think we rely on this technology too much? I think my brain has turned to mush. Excuse me. I'm gonna go memorize some telephone numbers now.
Shelly Kneupper Tucker
writes at This Eclectic Life
Twitter handle: @shellyktucker