Today, while cleaning out notes from numerous ancient Microsoft instruction manuals about to go to that great bookshelf in the sky, I came across an equally ancient post card:
Shoreview Dental Mall
As you requested…
We have reserved time with our hygienist for your dental cleaning and examination. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please give us a call so we may reschedule. A 24 hour notice is appreciated. Thank you.
Wow. No robo phone reminder? No email message in my inbox? No veiled threat of a $25.00 penalty for no-shows? Printed in 1997, this notice is going on thirty years old. That got me thinking about all the innovations that have changed our daily lives that now could qualify for the bottom step on Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” right next to air, water, food, and sexual gratification:
- Computers, in all their iterations, are a way of life. Their vigilant monitoring for misspelled words and improper grammar, along with the elimination of poor penmanship, make them far less threatening than that second grade teacher peering over our shoulder. And what is a pencil anyway?
- Where would we be without cell phones that enable face-to-face conversations along with text messages, selfies, pictures, and those cute little smiley faces?
- Forget research at the library. You can just sit in your jammies and fuzzy bunny slippers and research information with the click of a mouse. You can determine if you may (someday) actually want to get dressed, leave home, and visit these locations.
- Losing your navigation skills? No problem. Recall how those old accordion paper maps unfolded at will but refused to ever go back together? Now we just talk to that sultry, silky voice from the sky that tells you how to find your way. Never mind you appear to be racing straight toward the edge of a cliff and she tells you in her sweetest tones that “in seven seconds, you have reached your destination.”
- Driverless vehicles are well on their way. We already can auto parallel park, which was the bane of so many teen drivers. Just keep that foot on the brake and don’t look back. Who needs a rear view mirror anyway (unless you require a “is there lipstick on my teeth” check)?
- Toy trains are on the rocks. Same is true for kid’s model airplanes. Now getting that bird’s eye view of the neighbors skinny dipping in their back yard pool is easily accomplished with your dime store purchased drone.
- Precision medicine is here to personalize every gene mutation that can cause cancer. Of course, your doc will still preach avoidance of sunburns, cigarette smoke, radiation, and pollution while reminding you to “eat your five fruits and veggies daily.” Some things never change.