© Owen Pietrokowsky and Materials Means: Science and Technology Blog, 2013.
Email Owen at opietro@ yahoo dot com
A local engineer suffering from superomniferrophobia recently jettisoned all his digital belongings and took a vow of digital silence. He relinquished his cell phone, GPS navigator, laptop, iPhone, stereo, and video camera, along with all of his other digital possessions.
“Please turn off your cell phones for this announcement” he said to friends and colleagues the day before he left his job in Silicon Valley and moved out of the area. “I won’t be in touch. I won’t be emailing, texting, twittering, writing, calling, or being in touch in any way” he announced to assembled co-workers at his going away party.
“I won’t be sending greeting cards, postcards, leaving voice mails, faxing, touch-tone dialing, or contacting my friends by smart versions of any of my digital artifacts. I no longer have a GPS navigator. I don’t want to know where I am, where I’m going, where I’ve been, what I’ve done.”
His remarks were met with general disbelief and an overpowering digital and analog silence. “I’ve been diagnosed with superomniferrophobia, and I need to revise my lifestyle and my relationship to ferromagnetic objects of all kinds. I have to rethink my relationship to the Periodic Table. I have to reconsider my genetic makeup and my personal genome.”
“I know in my blood that this is the right thing to do. In fact, I’ve had my blood analyzed, and doctors tell me I have excessive hemoglobin in my arteries. I need to cut down on my intake of iron, literally and digitally. I won’t be able to locate myself in geographical or social space for quite some time.”
“The good news, however, is that I will still be a member-in-good-standing of the space-time continuum. I will still be following Newtonian laws and Einstein’s theory of relativity. You can all be assured of that.” A general sigh of relief rippled through the crowd. “I will miss my friends” he continued. “I appreciate the support you have given me in my career and role as a ferro-evangalist and proponent of free market ferrophilia. I hope you will continue to think of me and support me in spirit as I enter a new phase of my life.”
“I will also miss my magnetic poetry on my refrigerator. This was one of the harder things to give up. Some things will be an inconvenience not to have around, but not having magnetic poetry around in my life and daily routine will be extremely difficult.”
“It’s in my blood too. Words and magnets and magnetism. They go so well together. Can you have one without the other, really? It’s what keeps us together, strings together meaning in our lives, let’s us parse our language and daily reality. I know you will want to send me care packages of food and magnets and wish me a fond goodbye on the company refrigerator. But know that I have asked the same of my family and close relatives. Don’t think of me when you open that frig door and parse the good times, the long lines, one liners, couplets, stanzas, free verse improvised from vegetable bin to freezer. Magnets aren’t forever. Please remember. Magnets aren’t the last word.”