I’ve traced the beginning of the fall of modern civilization down to one of two events. First is the invention of youtube. I think much can be interpreted from a culture where songs about ducks asking for grapes can get 93 million views. The second thing which began our fall is the invention of caller id.
I remember when caller id first started to make it appearance into the modern American home. As a youth, growing up in status symbol land, I would spend occasional afternoon in my friend’s basement making crank calls. It was innocent fun. Calls about if the home’s refrigerator was running and that they should go catch it caused us to howl with laughter.
Then, caller id entered the picture. We had heard rumors of these devices as my friends and I dialed numbers in dark basements, but we figured it nothing more than an urban legend. It wasn’t until one afternoon where my friend committed a rather hilarious prank call that the existence of caller id was confirmed.
My friend had just hung up the phone when it immediately started ringing. He let it ring three times before answering. (didn’t want to sound desperate, just in case it was Danielle, the girl had a crush on). Well, it wasn’t Danielle calling, but rather the gentleman we had just cranked called. The man told us he was going to call the police on us and that we were in big trouble. The color drained from my friends face as he stammered into the receiver. Caller Id was real.
After hanging up the phone, we did what all young boys do when they get caught doing something they shouldn’t. We ran outside to play far away from the phone. You know can’t get in trouble for making crank phone calls if you aren’t near a phone. It was one of the last times we ever made crank calls, all of us too afraid of caller id to continue prank calling.
It isn’t the fact that caller id has robbed an entire generation of the experience of a crank call that makes me view it as one of the falls of modern civilization. In fact, preventing crank calls is one of things caller id does well. No, the reason caller id is causing the fall of modern society is much more devious. By having caller id installed on our phones lines some of the mystery of life is removed.
Life is full of mysteries or at least it used to be before caller id showed up. Before caller id, when the phone would ring we would ask ourselves I wonder who it could be. It was only when we acted and picked up the phone the mystery would be solved. Now when the phone rings we simply look at the caller id screen and decide whether to answer it. We know who is on the other line before we even click answer button.
Caller id has contributed to our right here right now attitude of our modern times. We need to know everything right now, we are no longer content to live our lives surrounded by mystery. We need to embrace the mysteries of life, the mysteries of faith. When we focus on trying to solve the mysteries of the faith, something amazing happens. The mystery remains, but our faith grows. Embrace the mysteries of life and don’t be afraid of the unknown or answering a blocked call.