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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cyber-Staring. By John von Daler

               Follow the bouncing ball! the text on the screen used to suggest at the movies in the good old days. Then you could sing along to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" or "Camptown Races" or "Oklahoma" (my favorite) if you fastened your eyes on the little, mechanical sphere. My tiny, out of tune voice usually joined the other viewers in song.

                I have always been a watcher. Now you are thinking people-watcher, observer, note-taker, analyzer. No, no, no. I mean that I have always submitted to the requests to follow the movement of objects and sceneries that hardly move at all or at least keep you focused on one screen or picture for ever so long. As a kid my own choice was waves on a beach or the flames in a fireplace, the setting sun or clouds floating by. Even more interesting were breads slowly rising in an oven or bubbles frothing out of strange and deadly chemical mixtures of hair pomade, soap pulver, vinegar and coca-cola concocted in our bathroom sink.
                But as I have gotten older the areas of my rapt attention have become more and more mechanical. Following colored lines in hospitals fills a lot of my time either when I visit friends or have to be examined myself. Most embarrassing of all are the lines on computer screens that in all their light blue splendor slowly creep across a little empty rectangle as wildly innacurate text messages arrive in the bar below: 10 minutes left, one hour and thirty-two minutes left, four days, six hours and seven minutes, this download will be finished within one minute. I sit patiently watching the progress of the line. 
                Lately I have been wondering what I or you or anyone get out of this. Now I do not want to attack this pastime in the hopes of having it forbidden by the authorities. Presumably they are watching me while I am watching the line, so everybody is more less satisfied with the status-quo. But I want to be sure that all that time staring at creeping screens has not been subtracted from the great value analysis someone somewhere has been compiling about my life. At the Pearly Gates I may be confronted with the end result and told shamefully that I have wasted two years, seven months, five days, four hours and thirty-two seconds of my life watching blue, crawling bars or multi-colored spinning balls.
                That is the moment when I will spring my great secret. Hey, I was thinking while I was watching! Most of the stuff I write takes form while following the unending progress of cybersnails. This declaration will be followed up by my clincher against the immortally deceased who live behind those Pearly Gates: Get a life!

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click on the cover to buy Pieces. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!

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