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WHITTLE: Am I really here?

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There I was, looking nice, dressed in a nice business suit, when another member of the board of directors bragged: “I’ve got a Blackberry.”

“Whittle, you gotta Blackberry?” someone asked at the other end of the board table.

In my generational defense, I chortled with curtness: “No, but I had a damn good strawberry milkshake last week at Reeves-Sain Drug Store.”

As I near 70, it has dawned on me – I’m here, but I’m not.

With arrival of the expensive Blackberry, I immediately dragged out my inexpensive, but trusty old-fashioned white colored professional reporter’s pad with the spiral wire binding.

“This is my Whiteberry,” I said, as I defended myself firmly to younger board members. “The only time I can’t depend on it is when I make the mistake, not when some outer-space program or dude goes bunkers.”

I made my point, but it’s clear that I’m this board’s old fossil.

Heck, when I broke into news gathering, I worked with reporters and editors who pre-dated telephones, and they were experts at what they did.

A fellow fogey said he recently asked a granddaughter what she was texting while sitting in the back seat of his car.

“They were discussing bowel movements of their school friends,” the man said.

Police officers have informed me that they are spending tax money and time covering wrecks, even fatal ones, of drivers who can’t quit texting. So, which generation is smarter?

I love news as much as anyone,  including new ideas, new places, new people and can’t wait to try the new food selections at the new Peter D’s Restaurant going up fast in Murfreesboro, or the ribs at the old-fashioned, but new Kin-Folks barbecue joint in Smyrna.

But, don’t get me started about present-day conduct in public eateries.

Being the old guy, I was appalled last week when I observed a child, maybe 8 years old, loudly telling his mother to “shut up!”

My father, a farmer, would have slapped me away from the supper table if I spoke that way to my mother.

Heck, Mother would have broken my jaw if Daddy didn’t.

My wife, Patricia, and I were recently invited to this plush new  restaurant up in Nashville.

When seated, we saw this tastefully dressed young couple make a scene of bringing her parents to dinner in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.

It was a nice gesture, but the charm was lost when the young couple kept texting on their cell phones. Judging from glimpses the older couple shared, they didn’t appreciate it either.

Is simply listening to one in personal conversation becoming a lost art?

Last summer, while attending a Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce business social at Cannonsburgh Village, a young chap approached and asked me, “Whittle, what’s it like to be irrelevant?”

Since semi-retiring from full-time newsroom deadlines in 2006, I occasionally fill in when newspaper staffs are short-handed.

As I went about making pictures there at Cannonsburg for two area newspapers,

I kept noticing my former relevance- questioning dude’s head popping up, as he tried to get in my camera frames.

Need I confirm that his irreverent noggin didn’t appear in the newspapers.

In all my years of newspapering, I’ve never considered anyone, from the town window-washer to the town mayor, as irrelevant.

Now, let’s talk modern love here.

The other night on TV, there was a commercial showing a scantily clad, well-endowed woman available to flirt on your cell phone, for a fee of course. And it was in evening prime-time.

My, how times have changed.

It wasn’t that long ago when male condoms and feminine hygiene products were not advertised before 9 o’clock in the evening. Now they show crotch shots of male and female under garments in primetime.


As for electronic gadgets, if it’s more involved than my garage door opener, it’s over my head.

It’s year 2014.

I’m here, but am I?

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Members Opinions:
January 24, 2014 at 10:30am
I agree. I'm 42, raising my 15 and 13 year old children. We have strict rules about how we treat people, no cell phones during dinner (or during a face to face conversation!), and I point out situations to them while discussing what took place vs what should have taken place. We report commercials (Hardee's) that are inappropriate. We talk about averting your eyes from things you shouldn't see because you should protect yourself. Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
So yes, you are here. And during that time continue to teach (and learn) and correct, otherwise they'll never know how they're supposed to be. Obviously someone along the way dropped the ball.
January 31, 2014 at 7:03am
This Sunday Whittle gets the answer to his question! That is the day that he comes out on the porch and if he sees his shadow he goes back in the house because it meanns two more months of winter.
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