Almost Simple

by Amy Zidell


I saw a television ad the other day for teeth whitening strips that work while you sleep. It confirms that life today is too complicated. The Crest ad says something to the effect that with this new whitening system, "now you can be doing something while you sleep." I think that things have gone too far when you need to multitask during sack time. Especially when you're chemically altering your smile. Sleeping should be for sleeping or possibly dreaming, which only occurs when you're in REM sleep, which is sleeping. As a society we're suffering from Systemitis.

This disturbing phenomenon is also demonstrated with the new but already highly competitive floor cleaning system industry. Does anyone really need a mopping system? There's only a few ways to clean a moppable floor:

At what point did scuff marks, tracked in dirt, and general floor grim graduate to the level requiring a system? I tried one of these so-called systems. I was asthmatic for two weeks from the fumes. Maybe these things ought to be referred to as Toxic Systems. They make the entire home uninhabitable, even for dirt.

Game Shows used to have names like, "The Newlywed Game," "The Dating Game," or, "The $64,000 question." Now game shows are called reality programming. The names started getting more ominous as early as Jeopardy. Then we had Survivor and Fear Factor. As of yet there is no Game Show System, but there is a Game Show Network, and that's almost as bad.

There are no longer simply weather forecasts there are Storm Tracking Systems. If it's raining in 2003, it becomes, "Winter Storm Watch 2003: with flood warnings."

Bombs used to be simpler as well. You could build a shelter under your backyard and as long as you had enough canned food items and water stowed away things would be just fine in a few months when you emerged. Now we must contend with Weapons of Mass Destruction. Instead of détente-ing amongst a couple super powers we must defend against handfuls of rouge nations. A Strategic Defense System therefore comes into play.

A telephone is no longer a phone, it's a communication system. Cell phones take and send pictures, e-mail, and text messaging, not the mention the 'ole voice stuff.

People multitask so often, so poorly that now there are laws against it in a growing number of places: Don't talk on the phone while you're in the car ­ it might be illegal. The ACLU has been strangely quiet about all this.

As with many things, the pendulum swings one way and then the next. Eventually Systemitis will become so overwhelming and problematic that the only remedy will be more behavior regulating laws, brought to us courtesy of the Legislative System.

© 2003 Amy Zidell

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