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‘Men have become tools of their tools’

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(Updating last week’s blog where I asked you to see what your ‘significant other’ says you could give up, I posed the question to Mrs E.

She ummed and ahhed and said that I’d already given up sport … so maybe I should consider not trying to do too much with my days and eat better.

In short, I should have earlier breakfasts.

You see, I told you it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you asked!)



It’s good to know I’m not the only one trying to give things up.

This post had a different focus until I came across a fantastic piece by Sam Graham-Felsen. Horrible name, great article. He was Obama’s chief campaign blogger and recently decided to dump his iPhone. Permanently.

His quotes are littered about this blog, as he personally details his own behaviours, most of which hit me squarely between the eyes.

‘If I’d spent three straight hours watching TV, I would be disgusted with myself. But I was convinced that the Internet was more edifying than television.’


I also stumbled across Erica Douglass’ blog a little while ago and was stunned when a new post came up with her ‘riskiest, most radical’ undertaking. Considering the journey I’ve been on, I was immediately intrigued.

How can anyone last without email?!

How can you communicate?

She’s running a business … what’s she going to do??

(She went alright – you can read the follow up here.)

A school analogy

Rarely, at our school, out I.T. system will shut down. The I.T. team is a great bunch and it never takes them long to sort it out, but every few years, something goes skewiff and we have to go without for a short while.

I love it!

There’s something comforting about having to have a face-to-face meeting with someone. You know they’re received the message. You know they’ve received the message in the manner and tone in which it was intended. And you know they’ve received the message. I think you get the point…

 ‘When I had an iPhone, the Internet was no longer a destination; it was on me every day.’


The problem with email is not everyone’s on the same page. The amount of time that I’ve wasted waiting for someone to actually log on (as we ‘should’ 3 or so times a day), read the email you want them to and respond … good golly.

There’s people I work alongside that I know I should write a note to on a scrap piece of paper, get a kid to run the note directly to them, and I’ll have my answer/s within 3 minutes. (As an aside, kids full-body jump at the chance to leave the classroom … what does this say about me?! Hang on, don’t answer that.)

But I persist with email, because we are told we should, and quite possibly (probably) because there’s a large element of pride involved at my end. So I stick with a strategy that’s proven to be inefficient in the hope that one day it will get better.

So far, it’s like Rudd waiting for the Labor party to take him back as their leader. Ain’t gonna happen…

‘I couldn’t possibly be a zombie, because everyone knows zombies don’t comment and share.’

Not giving it up

This isn’t leading to a newfound determination to drop off the iPhone, email or Facebook grid, or to go on my own 30 day or 12 month fast. But it again provides an acknowledgement that we can do without them. I don’t want to, nor do I intend to, but the world will keep spinning if we drop off email, close our Facebook account or, God forbid, go without our mobiles for any period of time.

‘Yet it was nearly impossible for me to sit through dinner without reaching for my iPhone. “What is so important?” she demanded, and I knew I had no good answer.

It’s like those who claim they stay on Facebook, in part because it’s where the party and social invites stem from. ‘What will I miss out on?’ is the underlying message. And it’s a fair point.

Yet, if your friends know you’re not on Facebook, they’ll let you know some other way that an event is on. It’s not rocket science. And if they don’t, they’re not your friends.


Ask any 13 year old why they need a mobile and they’ll throw out the, ‘To contact my parents if something happens’ response. Really?! That’s your number one reason for having it?? Ha…

‘I’m no longer engaged in half-conversations with the people in front of me and half-conversations with the Internet.’

Yet we as adults throw out similar feeble reasons for our connectedness to tv, sport, online poker, smartphones, our spending habits, lack of philanthropic giving… But it’s the teenager who’s mocked.

It shows that we can use Facebook, sport, emails, non-stop smartphone connectedness, or any borderline obsession as a crutch to justify other behaviour. It differs for the individual and we may not have unhealthy behaviours in all of the above areas, but if you are perfect in them all, maybe you should start a blog…

‘And when I came across his famous verdict—“Men have become tools of their tools”—I felt like an enormous tool.’


For this Thursday’s post, clean yourselves up, put on some aftershave, wax your legs, grab your best outfit – we have a six month anniversary to celebrate!


About petek8

Pete Evans has just finished going 12 months without watching any sport. The journey stemmed from a sense that the balance was out-of-whack with my time and my priorities. Everything seemed to revolve around creating enough time and space to fit in the last game, games, recap shows or space to surf the net for the latest numbers and analysis. The cycle never ends - one season leads into another, seasons overlap if you follow various sports and the media's insatiable appetite for a new 'story' means that even the greatest of achievements aren't heralded for more than 3 days. So I stepped away from the machine for awhile and intentionally engaging with the journey by writing about it.

4 responses »

  1. I have to say that I now have several friends that without a doubt will be spending a good amount of time gazing at their phone whenever I am in their company. And no, its not me.

    I decided to point it out recently to one particular friend. It was interesting, of the two people in the room the one not on the phone backed me. The one on the phone, went on the defensive, then agreed, apologised and then did it again 25 minutes later without even realising.

    We’ve all allowed each other to become rude bastards.

  2. Yep, that story makes me rethink my actions, too, as did Sam’s quote re being in two conversations at once.

    It could just be you, by the way…

  3. Just going to log on to the school email and see how long it really takes you to reply to me….:)


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