Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 1612

Buzz Aldrin couldn't have said it better. "You promised me Mars colonies. Instead, I got Facebook." When I saw this quote today, it summed up the last several decades for me. There are no large dreams that capture the imagination of entire countries anymore. Instead, we have become a fractured, totally divided world that agrees on nothing and can't get behind anything of consequence. When I was growing up, the best and the brightest went to work in places like Los Alamos and Oak Ridge. Today they work for Google. I was an Oak Ridge kid myself for a while, since my Dad was doing something secret at one of the labs. My young friends and I were science nerds before the term was even invented. We were convinced that we'd be traveling among the stars by now. None of us ever dreamed we'd be downloading funny cat pictures instead.

Not only has the world become trivial, I have become trivial as well. When I was a young kid in Oak Ridge, I thought I'd be an astronomer when I grew up. I actually ended up becoming an architect. Then in my mid 20's I had an epiphany. I realized that I was a fairly shallow person and became an ad man instead. I thrived in advertising, largely because my shallow nature fit me like a glove. I thought having a few people like me made the world a more interesting place. It probably did. The entire equation changed when everyone decided to get a degree in marketing. You don't really need that many people like me. There is a reason why big companies hire most of their advanced technical talent from India and China. American college grads no longer want to split the atom and go to the moon. They'd rather have their own reality show.

I don't know where we go from here, but I do know that people like John Kennedy and Buzz Aldrin don't resonate with today's young people like they did with me. Going to the moon in ten years from a standing start was a ridiculously ambitious goal and we did it. These days it would take ten years just to agree on what we wanted to do.

I certainly didn't do much today. I went to my breakfast restaurant a day early, because I'm going to be busy tomorrow. The first thing I noticed was that the restaurant, which is typically packed on Friday mornings, was virtually empty. Could this mean that we already have a de facto four day work week? All my clients seem to have flex-time employees these days and I know quite a few people who don't work on Friday already. What's going to happen when the robots get really good?

Maybe some of my clients have started taking Thursday off as well. It was certainly slow today. The dogs got two nice walks, including one in the morning where the temperature was brisk and cool. Dot and Dash love the cooler weather. Later in the day, I filled the car with gas, went to the bank, and paid a quick visit to a Fry's electronics store in the neighborhood. The store was almost as empty as the restaurant was this morning. Sign of the times, I guess.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day