Saturday, March 8, 2014

What Has the Internet Done to Me?

You make for a lousy pastime!
I'm going to try and keep this short, but you know how long-winded I can be: Earlier this week, I was watching the audition episodes of the current season of The Voice, a singing competition show on NBC.  One of the contestants sang the song "Can't You See" by the Marshall Tucker Band, which I had heard previously, but had never really thought about what the lyrics were saying.  When I heard the chorus--"Can't you see what that woman, Lord, she been doin' to me?"--I realized that it was a prayer of sorts; the singer's significant other was driving him crazy, so, he was calling out to God in desperation.  I may not be dating or married, but, I feel the same way about a "relationship" of sorts with a certain entity that has been going on for over a decade and a half.  What is it? Entertainment? No; that'll probably always be my thing.  Celebrities? Honestly, the whole "celebrity crush" thing has been phased out for a while; I became able to admire the works, abilities, and looks of various famous people--of both genders, I should add--without bandying their names about as if they're my best friends.  Facebook? I just ended that "relationship" recently, but it hasn't been going on that long.  The answer is...the Internet.

"What is the Internet doing to me?" It's an interesting question that those of us who use it often should ask.  For me, my "relationship" with the Internet started back in 1998, when I used the school's computers to research my favorite topics: Scooby-Doo, Growing Pains, the Disney Channel, Garfield, Ty Beanie Babies, etc.  It didn't take long for me to learn how to copy images and store them on the computers' hard drives; some of my classmates even once used a picture of the Mystery, Inc. gang that I had stored on the Scrapbook desktop application for a project.  In 1999, we got our second Mac, which happened to be the first computer we ever hooked up to the Internet.  Though I wasn't allowed to have instant messaging or attachments in my e-mails--which was a smart decision on my mom's part, as I had too many distractions and got into enough trouble as it was--I spent plenty of time looking up information about my new favorite topics: Pok√©mon, Nintendo, Christian music, and the like.  I didn't start using the Internet for communication until 2002, though, when I found my way to a online forum about the Christian band dc Talk.  It didn't take long for me to become addicted, though I still spent plenty of time reading as much as I could about whatever I was obsessed with at the time.  In 2006, I joined Facebook, and we all know what happened after that.

However, I feel that, even without Facebook, the Internet is simply a time-waster.  It's one thing to use it to find information: the phone number of a local business, what the critics are saying about the newest blockbuster, how to fix a Samsung dishwasher...whatever.  However, sometimes, even without Facebook, the Internet can be information overload.  True, there's plenty of gossip online, but it doesn't even have to be that.  Last night, just randomly, I went on the Internet Movie Database page for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and ended up reading the entire trivia section, even though there was nothing in there that I really needed to know.  I then proceeded to do the same for the theatrical tie-in movie, and got the same results.  Prior to that, I had just gotten out of the shower, and I had wanted to watch some shows on my DVR before turning in for the night...but, instead, I wasted my time with something pointless.  It wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the Internet.

Many years ago, before I knew the nature of my condition, my mom mentioned something about being "autistic" while driving me somewhere.  I had no idea what that term meant, so I asked her, and she explained to me by fiddling with the keys on her key chain, and explained that, for someone autistic, "a bomb could go off," and he/she would still be sitting there, fiddling with whatever.  Some of you may know someone who is severely autistic, and does just that; though my condition is much milder than that, I still have a problem with misusing time.  One my my friends once defined "doing nothing" as "expending your energy on something that gives nothing or almost nothing back," and I think that's what I've spent right much time doing, not only on Facebook, but online and on the computer in general.

What does that mean for me? Well, pretty much, it means that I'm going to put a stop to this blog.  Most of the time, all I do is vent about my problems with whoever or whatever, speaking in generic terms so I won't offend anyone.  Even many of my "parodies" were attacks on people, which lost me friends at times.  I've wasted many an hour on posts on here, not realizing that not only did it not get me anywhere, but I had plenty of other, better things I could be doing.  As I said in my final Facebook note: If people wanted to keep in touch with me, they'd find a way to do it.  I bet most of my friends wouldn't even know about this blog if it weren't for Facebook, and I probably wouldn't even have started it in the first place.

I will end on this note: Last year, my church did a Bible trivia competition based on the book of James.  An old teen Bible of mine said the whole point of said book is: Don't just talk about it; DO IT! I've wasted way too much time talking about what I'm going to do; I need to just do it...and that's what I'm going to do!

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