I met my husband at the corner of 17th and I Streets in downtown Washington DC. We were standing at a ‘Don’t Walk’ sign in rush hour – he was carrying a rug on his shoulder. I looked at him; he looked at me, and said, “My mother mailed it to me from Minnesota.” We were married two years later.
Now just imagine if, say, I had been looking at my iPhone and checking Twitter to see what snarky comment some self-important journalist had written about Desert Storm. We never would have met. Because cell phones didn’t exist, I have three beautiful children who do.
The premise behind a new viral video, “Look Up,” created by Gary Turk, is to live life away from technology. And he’s right.
There’s even a scene showing a man walking down the street looking on his smartphone for directions - instead of asking a woman passing by. It cuts to the same street where the man, sans phone, asks the woman for directions. They marry, and he is at her deathbed holding her hand when she dies.
That’s powerful stuff.
You get the point. “Look Up” means put the smart phone down. He calls it, “A spoken word film for an online generation,” and begins in front of a black background by saying, “I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely,” referring to his Facebook friends.
Turk’s prose contains one-liners to live by: “‘We’re a Generation of Idiots, Smart Phones and Dumb People” “Give people your love, not your like.” “Be productive, attentive…put your time to good use.”
90 percent of us have cell phones. Many of us, most of the time are absorbed in them. I've seen a Facebook picture of six kids on a couch with electronics in their hands with the pounding surf just feet away. I've watched in my own home as the five of us sit looking at our devices with stacks of games gathering dust under the table.
There’s a very real reason this video has touched a nerve. We may not realize it, but we are lonely in our obsession with technology. It defines us, not the other way around. We miss opportunities to be alone, to pray in silence, to watch a sunset holding hands with a loved one.
“Put your hands behind your head. Step away from the phone,” Turk says. The trick is doing it. Maybe a viral video telling you to stop watching viral videos will change your life.