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Welcome to Facebook

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 21st, 2009

A friend in San Francisco, a graduate of Harvard Business School and former Jack Welch protege, writes: “Dude, you would be proud of me — I even got on facebook last week….twitter next?” I respond:

Dear Arpad,

Speaking of technological advances, you might also want to have one of your cleverer butlers investigate these new portable telephonic devices. I’m unsure about the advisability of walking and talking at the same time, but potentially an uncorded telephone could be useful when one needs to
visit the toilet.

Or perhaps one could just purchase a longer telephone cord? (Note to personal secretary: Monday cable Bear Stearns, instructing them to buy on our behalf 1000 shares in our nation’s biggest wire manufacturer, Consolidated Brass Tacks and Tarpaper, at a price limit of 11 & 3/8ths. That was the price last April and I assume it has not moved since.)

Now, Aprad, I hope you are sitting down because I have to share something else shocking. I don’t know what the newspapers in The West are writing about, but here in North Carolina, some crazed journalists predict that one might, some day in the distant future, convey short textual information
through these mobile telephonic devices (“teles?”).

I think THAT is clearly absurd. Man will sooner walk on the moon than type correspondences into a telephone. For one thing, how could this typing be achieved with a rotary enumerator? And what would decipher the text and translate it back into speech so it can be comprehended? The mind boggles. Finally, and most importantly, even if all this flapadoodle were possible from the standpoint of the engineering gents, it seems clear to me that such information as shopping lists, theatrical scripts, marriage proposals and business propositions should ONLY be composed at leisure using pen and ink. Why would one rush to create or convey such information? Clearly great harm could come from ill-considered missives composed when one is in one’s cups and reposed on the toilet.

Yes, the mind boggles.

I hope you and your family remain in good health, and I remain, as ever, your friend in anachronism…

Mr. Copeland

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