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It’s in the mail

By Tim Croft
The Star

I am going to acknowledge this up front, I have a Luddite gene. 

Maybe only in ends, though not the means. 

The term defines a person against all forms of progress and technology. 

In the historical sense, it dates to the 19th Century and a group of what would today be called terrorists who destroyed mill machinery that threatened their livelihoods. 

And at that time, their livelihoods were a grind we modern workers could never conceive. 

So, I will toss away the historical reference (I am not planning any computers out the window just yet), but hold dear to the part about technology. 

Yes, technology marches on and does not care one whit about some guy hacking away in Port St. Joe, but there are aspects of technology that just grate. 

For instance, how when it rains hard and long the Internet is one of the first things to stop working: younger generations understand what I am talking about. 

But the days when technology becomes tiresome arrive every four years as the countdown to a presidential election draws near. 

What comes into my email box every day is the election in microcosm of the world and it’s no wonder I need a shower to face it. 

Now, some of that mail is informative. 

For instance, on any given morning I might find that Florida ranks third in the country as far its residents love of chocolate. 

How that was trial-tested I do not know, but I am placing my name into candidacy for the next such trial. 

I also learned that Florida ranks fourth in terms of affordable rental costs, which some in this area might challenge. 

There are also the frequent blurbs promoting concerts, though why somebody would send me a press release for a concert Friday in Colorado is beyond imagination. 

How would I promote that in Gulf County? 

I also receive daily updates about that particular date in history, always informative, and the latest design trends, not so informative. 

And there are always plenty of invitations to conferences of organizations that would have zero interest to the readers of a weekly newspaper in rural Florida. 

Unfortunately, all that is mixed in with an arms race of emails promoting political agendas and, now, presidential candidates. 

I feel deeply for the families of the victims of the Parkland school shootings a couple of years ago. 

I don’t understand how assault weapons are hunting tools. 

We as a country must do a better job addressing mental health. 

But at this juncture, daily emails urging me to donate to the cause of banning assault weapons have lost traction. 

I get three per day, minimum, and am forced to open at least one because the sender uses the first name of my wife. 

The one email I will not and can not ignore is one from my wife. 

That’s just playing dirty in my mind. 

But James O’Keefe and Peter Schorsch and others are there to provide daily commentary on current events as perceived from the right. 

And Team Biden, the Florida Democratic Party and others have been so kind to keep me up to speed on the same events as perceived from the left. 

There are the religious and other organizations that have established whatever one must gather to send emails leaning one way or the other out with, no pun intended, robotic pace. 

Until this campaign truly ramped up, the most annoying aspect of technology for us all, or those who prefer talking to humans about actual issues, have been the robo-calls. 

No, you could not have been reaching out for months about my car’s warranty because my post-Michael car is about 200,000 miles beyond any warranty. 

And, I doubt you are reaching out about my student loans: I can send a screen shot with all the gray hair I wear. 

How in the world has the technology advanced to attacking landlines and cell phones in the same day? 

Rod Serling couldn’t make this stuff up.  

(For those younger folks, the Twilight Zone you watch now is an update of the original, by Serling.) 

Now, it is an inbox of hundreds of emails that come with the season every four years and it is enough to grind one’s teeth to the root. 

Toss in a hurricane that destroyed everything you owned or held dear and a pandemic and now a heated hurricane season in which there are seven designated storms in the Atlantic basin. 

Nov. 3 could not come soon enough; I may not have any teeth. 

And, yes, I must retract a statement written earlier. 

Folks walking by the office might want to watch out for a computer coming through the windows at any time prior to that date. 

That will be the Luddite gene.