When I saw Mark Zuckerberg in the grocery line recently I felt a sense of outrage. As I caught his pale eyes staring out cooly from that impassive baby face, I wanted to march right up to Mr. Moneybrains and shriek into his ear: “MZ, if I catch the flu today, I’m gonna blame YOU!”
Mark ignored my hostile vibe. He was frozen on the cover of Time Magazine: The Man of the Year.
You may be wondering what connection could possibly exist between the Facebook Founding Genius and my fear of influenza.
What I am talking about is a dangerous detachment from reality, abetted by Zuckerberg’s Social Network, that is causing armies of people to cough in public without covering their mouths.
Cyber space may be buzzing with communication but humans are losing our sense of connection. We drive around in our teeny cars-for-one, guided by electronic navigators. Our friends, thanks to MZ, dwell in an imaginary world known as Facebook. We write notes to their mute images from our cell phones and Ipads. Groups of us gather to ignore each other as we happily twitter, text and email the hours away, lost in the ether created by the Harvard Hacker and his partnahzz in crime.
As we go about our errands, our MP3 players create personal soundtracks that block out everything else. Even while driving, our eyes are focused on cellphone or laptop screens, hands happily tapping. We barely register our fellow humans: the touch of an elbow, the sound of a voice, the sight of a face, a car merging in front of us. Screeeetch!!! Yikes!!! Our predicament is perilous indeed.
This ominous alienation is, in my opinion, the only possible reason why this flu season folks at my grocery store are coughing and coughing, practically retching, into the food on a daily basis. None of my ailing fellow shoppers seems to have the slightest sense that other hands might touch the items on which they have excreted a billion virulent particles. Not one of them bothers to cover a nose or mouth. Indeed, in the meat and vegetable aisles, people bend over the packets while they hack away, examining–and contaminating–container after container of germ-welcoming food.
O M F-ing G!
Yes, my BBFs, we no longer seem to care about how we interface in our everyday lives.
To break it down for you, let me explain the crisis in cyber terms:
1)There is no secure password protecting you against germs that might otherwise hack into your body.
2)Nasty disease bugs don’t have to friend you before invading your tissues.
3)There is no germ-i.d. implanted in your body. No warning bell will ring, no screen will identify a virus wanting to fly into your mouth or nose. It will just wing it.
4)Norton Antivirus is for computers, not people.
Here’s the bottom line: We need to pay attention to our bodies, and to our flesh and blood brothers, not just to those typing fingers in trendy fingerless gloves. Hygiene and thoughtfulness in public are still important.
What to do? I suggest the following New Year’s resolution: When you go out and mingle with your fellow humans in flu season COVER YOUR MOUTH and NOSE. Or, better still, skip the grocery store when you’re sick. Order dinner online and have it brought to your home. Put a scarf gently over your nose and mouth prior to opening the door. Finally, before you grab your Chicken Kickers and rush back to your beloved laptop to read Ashton Kutcher’s latest Twitticisms, remember that delivery humanoids prefer tips to tweets.