Weatherford Democrat

February 16, 2014

NOW HEAR THIS: Going the way of the dinosaur


Weatherford Democrat

— By LARRY M. JONES

Recently my wife passed along to me an email she received from a friend. It listed 10 things that will disappear in our lifetimes. I’m sure that some of you also received it, but for those who didn’t, I’ll summarize it.

The first, and perhaps the one that has received the most press, is the post office. Can you imagine a world without mail service? Well, get used to it.

Email has all but replaced letters from friends and family. Magazines and newspapers which were previously delivered to the “pore farm” by the mail carrier are now being sent via e-editions. Nine out of 10 of my bills are paid online these days. FedEx and UPS have long since dominated package delivery, and now I read that they’re being threatened by “Amazon Prime Air” which claims to be readying a delivery system via drones.

Checks are also on the chopping block in the near future. This is closely intertwined with the decline of the postal service. If you don’t receive your bills by mail, and you don’t pay them by check, there goes an industry. I currently don’t write one-tenth the number of checks I did, even 10 years ago.

The next two items on the extinction list are virtually one in the same – books and newspapers. Ease of access via electronic links, along with the cost of printing and publishing, makes this form of media an easy target. Don’t buy stock in a paper company.

The surge in popularity of the smartphone has had a tremendous impact on the aforementioned banking, mail service and printed media, but it has another primetime industry in the crosshairs – landline telephone service.

With improved cell phone coverage, telephone lines will become a thing of the past. Down on the “pore farm” I was in college before we got our first phone, and now, 50 years later, they’re going away.

According to the extinction list, the music industry is dying a slow death. Not because of pirating or illegal downloading, but by industry greed and corruption. Innovation is being stifled, and almost half of all music being purchased today is traditional items by older artists.

It is said that television revenues have plummeted. That doesn’t surprise me, because I swear that in 1955, with only one channel available (5), there was more to watch than I have now with a premium satellite package.

What has happened to dumb-down our viewing choices? I’m looking forward to the day when we can chose our programming online or through such options as Netflix. Just the other night, I rigged up my laptop to our television and Helen and I enjoyed the 1964 movie, “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” via a YouTube video – free of charge.

Rounding out the list destined for the dumpster are “things” we personally own – cursive handwriting and personal privacy. Who knows what’s next?

Like prehistoric lizards, wooly mammoths, or honest politicians, I’m learning we need to adapt or cease to exist. While it’s difficult at times for older folks like me, we must learn to embrace the modern innovations that supposedly enhance our lives. Yet, we must be careful not to carelessly discard traditional values and things that also give our lives meaning.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.