War With the Information Age
Top Illustration by Tim Forkes
The email heading in all caps read, “ INSTA HARD.” It went right into the junk pile with others wanting to restore my youth in one form or another. Sellers want to grab hold of more than my erection. They want my biceps, triceps, quads, and glutes. Oh, and let’s not forget my abs. I must chase six pack abs knowing that as soon as I get them, it will be time to go after an eight pack.
If my body is not enough, they want my mind. You see, at my age, 63, I am in danger of losing it along with my physical prowess. There is an overabundance of “the only product you will ever need” to think better than ever. It’s so difficult knowing which one to buy that it hurts to think about it.
I can get rid of my wrinkles, bags under my eyes, and waning energy as well because it’s one thing to be my age, it’s another to set foot out in public looking like it. I guess it is supposed to matter to me that women who spend a great deal of money on products to look twenty years younger will want to look at me as if I am twenty years younger so I will notice them. Excuse me, but I am too busy trying to find the glasses that I forgot are on top of my head so I can see where I am walking.
We live in what is a new information age, where all that matters is advertisers getting ahold of our personal information. In my case, it is my age they seem most interested in. Prostate supplements, colonoscopy prep tips, and courses on maintaining my balance are mine if I am willing to provide them with more of my private information.
I went online recently to check out the availability and cost of concert tickets and was immediately asked to provide them with my age. What does it matter? The artist is older than me. Ah, they want to know which other artists they can try selling me tickets to. If I enjoy artist A then I must also want to go see artist B, C, D, and the rest of the frickin’ concert performing list.
EBay just loves sending me a list of items they know I want to buy because I searched for similar ones. It doesn’t matter if I purchased an item or not, if I searched for something, they know better than me I must want more of them. Home Depot tells me that other people who bought what I am looking at have also purchased “the following items.”
Last month, I was checking out health insurance coverage online. I was not even finished filling out all the personal information that was asked from the first site I checked out when my phone began ringing off the hook with insurance brokers. Does it occur to these vultures if I wanted to talk to someone I would have searched for a broker or are they also in need of a brain supplement to help them think?
Fortunately, I still remember the phone number to the last land line I owned. It comes in handy when I think I am dealing with someone I do not want to sell my information. So does the email account I had to open for a job I used to have. It gets used when I think I will get flooded with emails from people wanting to sell me another mower, car, or home because a person can never have too many of them.
Those scam phone callers are about to find out I am not me. When they call asking for me, I am going to tell them they are talking to my husband or brother and that I recently passed away. If that doesn’t stop the calls, nothing will.
In a day and age where we get flooded with false information disguised as accurate information, I figure why not provide others with false information? Afterall, turnabout is fair play.
To some, I have been dead since 1983 which is when I marked deceased on the information card sent from my high school reunion committee. It did not occur to them that the seventeen previous cards they sent to my parents’ address got tossed in the trash can because who holds a six-year reunion much less attends one?
Doctors’ offices are the worst. They will email me information to fill out online, so I do not have to arrive early and do it in the waiting room when I arrive for my appointment. When I arrive, they hand me a clipboard and ask me to fill out the same information. When I tell them I did it online, they lie and say they never received it. They’re just too lazy to look through all their emails. Then, in the examination room, I am asked all the same questions again by someone too lazy to go look for my clipboard at the front desk. However, when my doctor begins asking me the same questions, I become more than a bit cranky.
If computers are supposed to save us a lot of paperwork, why is it that everyone is writing my information down three or four times? Can’t they just go to the cloud where everything is and grab what they need? It’s what they do on the dark web, isn’t it?
The most important information people need to know from me is I am not interested in my time being sucked up by others who want my information to sell. From now on, I will provide as much false information as I can because I find it amusing that people think I am interested in their unsolicited pitches. If I did not volunteer it and you ask me about it, I am going to give it to you up the wazoo from now on.
How come no one’s business has become such a big business? I am sure there is an app someone sells that will rid me of this problem, but they probably want all my personal information so they can sell it to others.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.