On the lighter side of fatherhood, the first time you come face-to-face with the power of two dimensional screens, you see media in a different “light.” Years ago on a typical spring evening, the boys and I were out in the street playing our usual game of hockey when the subject of a favorite Carolina Hurricane came up. They were so young and sweet and enjoyed the immediacy of our game, as well playing the part of their favorite players. Apparently, the night before one of the TV announcers compared the soft, dexterous hands of a particular player to that of a surgeon. Not getting the hyperbole, my oldest stopped the game to mention: “Did you know that (player) is also a doctor? He does operations at the hospital.”
I responded with my usual interest and then, after the lightness of the moment past, shared what the announcer meant. That did not fly because, he explained, “It’s true, Dad. He is a doctor! I heard it on TV!”
Decades ago, philosopher Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message” and that “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” I consider this at this moment, over a decade later, as I wait in line to order a coffee. In front of me, three people carry on a conversation loud and clear to the satellites above, devices glued to the side of their heads. Ironically, human connection to the person taking their orders never happens. Little cartoon balloons of lattes and chai tea float across the counter as the barista waves a gun at the momentarily unstuck smartphone to complete the “transaction.”
On the way home I consider that the player my son alluded to all those years ago has been retired long enough to have graduated medical school—given his soft hands and deft touch. I turn on the radio hoping for some old time rock and roll. Poor timing, but I am pleased to learn from an announcer with a great voice that “I may not be fat.” I am excited to know that the girth of twenty extra pounds hanging over my belt may just be bloat. And if I call now, I will get a second bottle of this amazing supplement totally free. I can’t wait to get home and tell Melanie the truth about my fraudulent fat roll. I heard it on the radio!