Irony Cuts Deep

July 23, 2012 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


Irony – \ˈī-rə-nē also ˈī(-ə)r-nē\ (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity

I have a confession to make. Occasionally I’m a hypocrite. The thing is, whenever I don’t take my own advice something happens, the result of which serves as a great lesson that hypocrisy is stupid. It also generally is a rather fine source of amusement … at least for other people.

Allow me to set the stage … I make a very big deal out of just how important it is to disconnect from technology on a regular basis. It is a core part of the work I do with clients. It is something about which I speak on a regular basis. In fact, less than a month ago I enjoyed my annual digital independence cleanse. I returned from my trip so energized that I found myself telling more and more people about it, including one of my dog park pals. It turns out that this fellow is Peter Finch, a reporter/host for KGO Radio. He loved the idea so much, he highlighted my experience: The Finch Files – KGO AM 810

Less than one week after this radio story aired, irony struck.

I was hiking on Mt. Tamalpais with a friend. It was one of those perfect Bay Area days. Waking to the serenade of foghorns, I headed out the door. The fog lay thickly across San Francisco and wrapped its chill gray arms around the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. Passing north into Marin the sun sheared through the thick gray revealing crystalline blue skies. The day fairly glistened. We only had a couple of hours so wrangling our dogs we headed for a short circuit along one of the more simple trails. This wasn’t an intense path. This wasn’t a complicated path … at least not for anyone who was paying attention to where they were walking. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say for anyone who wasn’t so boneheaded as to be texting while they were hiking.

Yep. That’s right. Texting while hiking. Take a look:

Now I wouldn’t be the first person whose eye lock on a mobile device had them fall ass over tea kettle, but like I said, the irony of this situation was not lost on me.

Amusement and irony aside, this could have been much worse. I could have ended up cracking my knee, ripping a tendon or even worse falling off the side of a trail. More to the point, though, what on EARTH was I doing looking down at a mobile screen when I was surrounded by such glorious beauty and spending time with a good friend? What was SO important that it couldn’t have waited just an hour or so?

The answer? There is no good one, except maybe for this.

Save for those who are surgeons or ob-gyn’s nothing, and I mean nothing, is that crucial you cannot disconnect from the grid. Period. As much as we may be compelled to share in the moment, and as wonderful as doing that may be on occasion, the truth is that an incessant, always on, perpetually connected existence serves no purpose other than perpetuating the myth of ego. No one is so important that they can’t take a break away. Period. Even more crucial to remember is that in casting your eyes downward you not only cut yourself off from the moments of amazement that happen all around you, you also cut yourself off from other people – neither of which are healthy.

The good news – a couple of sutures later, my knee is nearly as good as new.

The better news – from here forward, my cell phone stays in the car.

The handiwork of CPMC's Dr. Michael Rokeach

Photo credit:
“Sorry We’re Open” image courtesy of Shutterstock


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