Being online has changed everything.

And it’s been awhile that all of us have been online.

But, the chaotic world we live in became the new normal without our being given a chance to opt in.

We gave up our privacy in exchange for convenience.

Identity theft news flashes like the recent Starwood Hotels data breach no longer have the same shock and awe value they used to. Sadly, we now just think, “Oh well,” and go about our daily business (which for many of us now includes checking credit reports on a regular basis).

It’s not all bad, however. While I can no longer imagine a world with rotary phones and exclusively traditional taxi drivers, all this digitizing of daily life does leave me thinking “what if” regarding further gains to be had as well as those things we’ve long since forsaken.

  • What if we still had to go to malls and/or brick and mortar stores exclusively for our holiday shopping? This was an accepted norm for decades until it wasn’t. Everything can be acquired online now. If it’s clothing apparel and it doesn’t fit, we roll the dice and take advantage of the no fuss/no muss merchandise return options available.
  • What if bed sheets could be stripped and made via automation and bereft of human intervention? I believe it would greatly reduce the number of injuries to people who cannot seem to make their own beds and lie in them without compromising their health.
  • What if balancing a check book was still a thing? We’d have less time to check our social media feeds and then it would quickly become not a thing as a result. But balancing a check book became truly not a thing once all our financial transactions were available to us (and thieves) in real time.
  • What if using a paper map to navigate your vehicle or walking route was still a thing? I can think of a few things. But, number one is that instances of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) would be at least somewhat reduced as flipping a paper map puts less strain on the wrist’s median nerve than does fingering your mobile phone.

What if one definition of an ergonomic mouse remained, “One that sits up straight and tall while it’s eating cheese.”

  • What if you still had to check TV Guide for when all your favorite holiday shows were on so you wouldn’t miss them? Again, you’d probably have less instances of CTS from not having to incessantly “thumb” your smart TV’s dumb remote control.
  • What if you couldn’t order pizza digitally? We probably wouldn’t eat as much pizza anymore as speaking on the phone with a human being in order to have pizza delivered to our homes has not been a thing for some time.
  • What if blogging never became a thing? I’d be very sad. There’s hardly enough time in the day to read anything over 500 words let alone other blogs.

What if computers actually realized their original promise of making our lives easier and affording us more leisure time to do and enjoy the things we love? This, by virtue of my having reached just over 500 words (and also from Google’s displeasure with my not too keenly veiled criticisms of modern life), is a rhetorical question.