Confessions of a Neanderthal-Like

Neanderthals were a species of humans, much simpler and less sophisticated than modern humans. Scientists believe they died off thousands of years ago. Neanderthals had only very primitive tools, and are often portrayed wearing animal skins and sitting around fires in caves cooking woolly mammoth meat.

But maybe they didn’t all die off. When it comes to my adoption (or lack thereof) of popular current social trends and electronic communications, I think I may possibly qualify as a Neanderthal-like.

I don’t have a cell phone, smart phone or tablet.

I rarely go to first run movies and watch very little television.

I don’t participate in any electronic social media.

I don’t have any tattoos and don’t shave my head.

I don’t follow any professional or collegiate sports.

I don’t have any designer label clothes.

I’m not wholly unconnected, but keep my electronics involvement to a minimum. My wife and I do have desktop computers and she has a cell phone with a limited calling plan.

While my Neanderthal-like lifestyle may set me apart, it has its advantages.

I can go to a restaurant without a handheld device disturbing me with an incoming call or text message.

I don’t risk my safety — or that of others — by texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

I don’t have a lot of hair, but my risk of cancer of the scalp is less than the men who expose their shaved heads to the sun.

I don’t worry about the social stigma involved with someone “unfriending” me.

I am not qualified to engage in conversations about professional or collegiate sports teams and sports figures — and people familiar with me know not to try.

Since I’m not concerned with being “trendy,” I don’t spend money on clothes.

Snooky, a Kardashian or Justin Timberlake could walk right by without my knowing it.

I understand economics and realize that I am paying “opportunity costs” as a consequence of my choices, and think it is great that, for example:

Hand held devices open opportunities for numerous benefits.

Families and friends in different parts of the country or world can stay in contact, sharing news and pictures.

People who have keen interests in sports and entertainment performers have something to distract their attention from problems in the world.

I suspect that if I still had school age children at home I might have to become involved with more technology and be more aware of social trends.

What is the point of this self-incrimination? It is my tongue in cheek reaction to excesses I believe exist in society. Like everything in life, things that can be a “good” can be overused or used in a manner that detracts from the potential for benefit, becoming a ”bad.” I believe that this is the case with much in society today, such as: handhelds used impolitely; cell phone use that detracts from safe driving; social media overindulgence; and, addictive fascination with entertainers and sports.

My appeal is for proper use and good behavior; civility and politeness.

As you judge what I have said, remember my admission of the possibility that I may qualify as a Neanderthal-like. It’s not all bad — roast wooly mammoth is really tasty.

Closing on a more serious note, I’d like to salute a local unsung hero, Adrian Winpigler. Adrian has coordinated the seniors softball league that plays at Pinecliff Park. For almost 20 years he has selflessly dedicated himself to facilitating an activity for the countless seniors who have participated. It provides a great form of exercise as well as enjoyable camaraderie.

Editor’s Note: Rich Terselic is a member of the board of directors of the Villages of Urbana Homeowners’ Association.


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