Illustration Credit: An Illustrator


Although I have no data to back me up, I have to assume that the postcard industry is in complete shambles. In an age where we can take a picture of something on the spot, then immediately send it to any individual or post it on social media for the entire world to see, how many people are actually going to the trouble of picking out, purchasing, and mailing a postcard? It’s a shame, really, as getting a postcard from someone traveling in a far off destination used to seem so cool. I’m as guilty as anyone, however.

These damned, beloved cell phones of ours are really screwing things up while they make life so very convenient. We are always reachable, and are constantly making sure we haven’t missed a text, notification, or email (no one really wants an actual phone call anymore). It wasn’t that long ago that I would happily take my landline (gasp) phone off the hook to avoid being bothered. Now my cell phone is like a lifeline.

We waste, er spend, hours a day on social media looking at pictures of “friends'” (although we may have never actually met) kids doing “cute” things (you know, like sitting, standing or walking), narcissistic selfies, and annoying videos of cats. The same silly memes are seen hundreds of times a week, while the amazingly clever things I post never seem to gain any traction…alas.  

Between the photos of birthday parties, selfies at concerts, vids of cats jumping three feet high for a fake mouse, and memes with the Dos Equis dude, our nation is divided by political posts. These are commonly lies or extreme exaggerations, which are presented as facts (both sides are terribly guilty of this). I should mention there is plenty of good news posted, too, though controversial and judgmental posts are apparently more interesting. Despite it all, I can’t seem to turn away or stop posting things, myself.

My twelve year old son is already addicted to his phone — as are most of his friends. He is on Facebook, Twitter, and (mostly) Instagram. My wife and I resisted letting him get accounts on these for a couple of years before giving in to his pleas. Snapchat is still off the table, although he asks us almost daily about letting him join. My kid spends a good part of each night FaceTiming with his girlfriend. They don’t say much, but just watch each other as they go about their lives. It’s somewhere between funny and disturbing. The most effective punishment we have for my son is to take his phone away. If we do this for any length of time, he not only shapes up because he wants it back, but he seems genuinely happier and is certainly more involved with our family. I don’t think this is any coincidence.

It’s probably too late for the current generations, but I give our species enough credit to expect that there will be a paradigm shift at some point where people will realize that while they are constantly looking down at their devices (at some point the term “phone” will surely fall out of favor), they are missing far too much of their short lives. Maybe this will be some future generation that wants to be better parents than they had growing up. Perhaps it will be sooner than later?

In the meantime, I hope everyone has purchased the latest and greatest phone, and that you will continue texting or emailing instead of calling me, letting us all know about your kids’ milestones and achievements, and posting selfies with famous landmarks when traveling. Let me ask just one favor: drop me a postcard sometime (you can use your phone to find my address). I’ll try to send some too. 

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I don’t watch much television. I think most of it is complete rubbish, and I would typically rather be doing something that is more productive or creatively stimulating. I will admit, however, that I do enjoy a bit of telly before turning in for the night. For the past few months my wife and I have been almost exclusively watching British shows on Netflix, and I must say that I’m quite impressed by what is being produced across the pond — and I’m very keen to see more. Maybe we are just getting access to the best of the best here Stateside, and in reality the broadcasts over there are just as shoddy as here in the US. However, so far the programs I’ve seen have been the dog’s bollocks. My wife agrees.

I’m specifically talking about shows like Broadchurch, The Fall, River, The Office (yes, our version is a ripoff), Top of the Lake, Hinterland, and The Detectorists. Depending on the genre, these programs might seem too grisly or quirky (or both) for mainstream American viewing. For example, it isn’t likely that an entire season of a Yankee program would revolve around the murder of a young boy who ends up being killed by his best friend’s dad — who is also in love with him (bugger, sorry if I ruined the incredibly shocking surprise ending, mates). Similarly, I don’t think many Hollywood producers would jump at the chance to film a comedy based on the strange life of two blokes who faff about treasure hunting with metal detectors. Too bad, because we are missing out on some very odd, suspenseful, sad, harsh, and/or bloody hilarious content.

Not only are the plots great, but the characters are simply brilliant. Flawed in many ways, both physically and emotionally, they are very easy to relate to. The male actors are as likely to be short, bald and homely as tall, dark and handsome. Females are not gormless supermodels trying their best to utter their lines, but instead may be a bit pale and pudgy (yet many of them are still quite shaggable). Most characters have a complex depth that goes far beyond their surfaces. Their lives are far from tickety-boo, and many seem downright knackered and gutted. Everything may be balls-up, yet they trudge on anyway. You know, much like real life.

What’s really strange and amusing to me is that I now find myself thinking in British vernacular quite often. In fact, it is almost becoming second nature. I’m sure I drop plenty of clangers, but I feel like I’m becoming fairly ace, and it’s a brill way to entertain myself. Of course, I would never speak this way out loud, as I’m sure I would look like a complete tosser (I should probably inform readers that a “tosser” is the equivalent of a wanker or knob).

Anyway, I didn’t mean to get off topic. I’m sure there are plenty of British shows that are complete pants, but I’ve been right chuffed to bits with the programs I’ve seen so far. Give them a dekko and see what you think. You might have a bit of trouble with the accent at first, but it will soon be a doddle to understand. If these don’t end up being your cup of tea, perhaps they will be a great way to nod off. So, Bob’s your uncle. Cheers.