open book with a pen

Why Bother to Think for Yourself?

Why Bother to Think for Yourself?

     I am ashamed to say that I only know three phone numbers by heart; my husbands, my middle sons and one of my sisters. That is all. The rest of my contacts are stored in my smartphone’s memory and not mine.  When I leave things up to another device, I tend to forget what I used to remember. 

     I grocery shop once a week and write a check each time.  But when I shop with my husband he likes to remind me that all I have to do is sign the check and hand it over to the cashier. Then she feeds it into the machine and the machine fills out the rest. Easy! Except that I don’t listen to my husband nor do I pay attention to the line of people sighing impatiently behind me. Instead, I take out my pen, my checkbook and carefully write in cursive, the amount needed to pay for the goods. 

     I do this because I do not want to forget how to write a check. Also, I like how my brain, pen and hand all work together. Besides, writing out the numbers reminds me how to spell them correctly and I enjoy making the hyphen; two hundred and twenty-six dollars. It is a little thrill since I don’t often write words that need a hyphen.  

     But, I stay away from public restrooms since they make me look stupid. Do I flush the toilet or does it flush automatically? Do I press something to get soap out of the dispenser or do I wave my hand under it? Do I actually turn a knob to run the water or do I wiggle my fingers under the faucet?  And what about the towel dispenser? Do I press down on a lever or just hold my hands under it and wait for it to dispense the paper? I don’t want to look dumb, but sometimes I just don’t know the proper protocol called for in certain situations.  

     Robotic lawn mowers are an interesting phenomenon. One of our neighbors mows their lawn in this fashion. Every time I see the machine, I miss the tradition of waving to my neighbor who used to trek behind their mower on a warm summer’s eve. Where did the human being go?

     When backing out of my driveway, I do not use the screen on my dashboard that shows what is behind me. Rather than looking forward at the screen, I prefer to crane my neck and see what is actually behind me. Is there an animal, person or a robotic lawn mower in my pathway?

     Recently, I’ve had to adjust the settings in my email. Somehow it defaulted to automatically showing me words it thinks I might want to type next. Frankly, I find that upsetting. How does it know what I want to type when I’m still formulating the words in my brain? That’s like putting words into my mouth. I hate it when people do that. Now a non-human contraption is trying to tell me what to think. The nerve!

     Reading a book is one of my favorite pastimes. I like how words look on paper. I like the smell of books. I like turning pages. But I am concerned for those who do not know how to turn a page. They only know how to swipe a screen. They will go through life not knowing what is meant when someone says, “That book is a page turner.” 

     I want to always remember how to write in cursive, flush a toilet, mow my lawn, see what’s behind me, formulate my own thoughts and turn the page of a book. 

      Why bother thinking for yourself? If we don’t, then we won’t remember how to.

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A heart's journey to forgiveness book by Terese Luikens