I also find it very sad that an announcement is made before church every Sunday, “Please, silence your cell phones and because of the sanctity of our church service, please, do not text”. Sadder still, those comments are not addressed just to the kids in the congregation.

I recently spent about twenty minutes watching a young couple seated at a nearby table in a local restaurant. The probably spoke twenty-five words or less to each other the entire time. I don't know if the were dating, married, casual friends, or total strangers. My guess – the latter. They were watching Youtube videos or frantically texting instead of making memories of their own. My thought – really sad.

I also find it very sad that an announcement is made before church every Sunday, “Please, silence your cell phones and because of the sanctity of our church service, please, do not text”. Sadder still, those comments are not addressed just to the kids in the congregation.

I do appreciate the wonders of our modern technology. Watching a grandchild learning to ride a bike. Or my cousin falling out of his fishing boat while trying to land “the big one”. Or old friend we all thought would “never amount to much” receiving her advanced degree in astro physics – ALL priceless ! Cherished memories, even if second hand.

But it seems there are always negative side effects for any technological advance. Unemployment lines grew as rapidly as automated assembly lines grew. Airplane and railroad fares decreased notably as the interstate highway system expanded. There is always a price to be paid for progress. I can “see the USA in my Chevrolet”, but the vistas and skylines have become blurred and darkened by the smog and acid rain.

My concern for this generation is that we are losing our ability to speak. Or write, for that matter. I read so many posts on Facebook or in Blogs or on Twitter, and I just cringe at the spelling and the grammar. I am quite sure “Horrible Helen” (high school English teacher) has rolled over countless times in her grave. It is not that I expect everyone to be a Shakespeare or a Mark Twain, but SWF, LOL, BTW, and WTF don't quite speak to me. And WTF does not mean Well That's Fantastic ! Covfefe that !!

The spin doctors and the Madison Avenue Ad Execs have certainly honed their writing craft. Anyone wanting to know what is REALLY going on in our world today has to do an enormous amount of time-consuming research. Hype and Tripe are the soup du jour. Mega media conglomerates financed by political interests are not serving “we the people”. So, R*I*P progress!

So, talk to me ! Tell me about your day. Why are you angry? Depressed? Tell me why you voted for Senator XYZ. Why have you decided to go vegan? Whatever happened to….? Write to your Congressman. A letter to the local editor. To your granddaughter who is graduating. A serviceman on duty in Afghanistan. Write your family history – in a journal or in a Blog. Connect. Then stay connected. To LIVE people, not to the Internet. I promise not to criticize if you misspell a word or misplace a modifier. We need to communicate – not give up and get divorced or refuse to negotiate with an aggressive nation or decide we hate those who live a different faith. Yelling and screaming and cursing and insulting do not speak to me. To anyone.

Peace be with you! 

Susan Ruland is a near 40 year resident of Heber Springs. She contributes “Susan Says” each week and can be reached at susansays@suddenlink.net