Coping: With 10-ways You’ve Been Virtualized

Being old is entertaining as hell.  As you slide, however unwillingly, toward The Big Sleep, the folly of humans comes every more clearly into focus.

Take this stuff we have convinced ourselves is “Progress,” for instance.  There was a time when people physically did things themselves.  However, in order to “make-up an economy” we had to start monetizing everything in sight.

So, instead of admitting “We’re all crazy now…” we instead decided to “Create New Enterprises” with the mistaken belief that would make insanity somehow better.  Well, guess what?

(Continues below)


While it hasn’t made things better, necessarily, it has changed the way we live.  In a nutshell, we’re virtualizing.

Let’s go through the list.

  1.  Home Ownership has been virtualized.

Most people don’t own their homes.  In fact, the percentage of Americans who own homes is on the way down.

It may not look like a big deal, but it is.  It means that 5-million people own their own homes compared with 10-years ago.  Think that’s progress?

I don’t.  I’m telling you that virtualizing makes someone else rich.  Plain and simple.

2. & 3.   Food has been virtualized.

Two examples:  Fast food joints.  And Amazon Fresh.

While neither is bad, per se, there was once a time when Americans spent more time cooking (and being with their mate) than they spent chasing the money so they could afford the airtime, so they could ignore each other while posting to social media at dinner.

Again, it sure doesn’t look like progress to me…

4. Transportation has been virtualized.

People are slowly getting out of owning their own cars.  A year ago, reported leases accounted for 4.3-million units sold.  In 2009, that number was 1.4 million.  Big change.

Toss in things like “going to the dealership” to change your oil and update the fluids and such, and yeah…another part of life gets app’ed.

5.  Communications has been virtualized.

When a lot of us “grays” were young, we read the Sunday comics in the newspaper.  (Remember either of those items?)

The was a detective, Dick Tracy, who sported a two-way wrist radio.  Piqued my interest in ham radio as a kid:  Build your own equipment, no data plan, and your own teletype is you wanted it.

Today, the pocket picture-phone is real and we have Microsoft/Skype to thank.

But the kids still don’t call except of state occasions (marriage, major purchase, death, and bail).  So you tell me:  Where’s the progress?

6. & 7. Environment is all virtual.

You may be old enough to remember weather.  But, except for a few “gloomy-Gus” types, there was no real money in it.  Now?  Everything is monetized.

Storms have names.  Cold fronts get names.  Snow has names (Lake Effect is my fave.  No idea what Native American’s called it…how did the survive?

Climate changed over centuries.  Now, in a mad rush to impose a global “climate tax” we’re told to expect a killer heatwave by lunchtime.  Piss on it.  Just more virtualization; a kind of weather-based cosplay.

We also have to save the killer whales.  This way, they eat more salmon and keep fish prices at the store high.  Bingo.

8.  Energy is virtualized.

Mrs. Trout lived up the street from us when I was a kid.  Her home was heated by a coal-fired furnace.

Weekends, I’d go over (for a buck or two) and spend two hours hauling out the clinkers and shoveling heaps of coal into the feed-screw of the furnace for the week.

It was work, sure.  It didn’t pay for indoor skiing in Saudi Arabia, nor did it develop oilfields for ISIS and Iran to lust after.

Toss in the local utilities wanting me to set up a “an autopay” despite never missing a payment and it sounds a lot like the energy sector has been taken over by Guido and Luigi.

9.  Finance has been totally virtualized.

When I bought my first shares a stock, certificates were mailed to the house.  I proudly kept them in the safe, even though I was a “registered shareholder” for my own protection.

Now, just try to get a stock certificate.

There was also a time when bonds actually had “coupons” that you’d clip and mail in – a check would show up the following week.

Sure, this reduced the turnover in stocks and bonds, but you know what?

It kept the greedy-bastards who are front-running our daily trades with high-frequency trading from slipping a fraction of a penny to us on every share.

Again, we ask:  Other than to make the “special class” of rich pricks richer, where’s the benefit?

Oh, and that old, archaic system was delightfully, intrinsically EMP-proof.  We were THE world superpower back then because we got it mostly right.

Today, we’ve become totally dumbed down, over-complexified, and electronically reliant.

God help us if the power ever goes out.

This is not sour grapes, this morning.

Think of it more like a friendly reminder that if you come back here Monday and you haven’t added to your personal skill bank over the weekend, you’re living a wasted life.

But we’ll be glad to suggest a tattoo for your forehead, if it will help.

A big pair of V’s – for vitualized victim – would seem like a fitting label.

10. & 11.   Still, There Are Times

Meanwhile, since we put as much as we can on our credit card and then pay it off with a free bank transfer an hour later, we did cash in 23,318 “points” Thursday.

When $186 bucks in free money (from partnering with Guido and Luigi) is posted, remind me to admit (grudgingly) that there are a few upsides to virtualized living.

That and automatic prescription refills….

Please hold, I have an important call for this number…”

Write when you get rich, or have your AI write; I know you’re virtually busy.  After all, if you can find a way to make people more egocentric or lazier, fame and fortune are Ures…

23 thoughts on “Coping: With 10-ways You’ve Been Virtualized”

  1. And then there are the friendships that are ‘v’d’ . . . (sorry, I’m not in the mood to spell it out!)

    When was the last time one actually had a ‘face to face’ sitdown with a friend, and spent time – that too precious commodity? Everything is rush, rush – and what do you really ‘get’ for it?

    • Even if you meet up with your friends, they are so busy answering the pings, dings, and rings, one might as well be by oneself. This weekend, after working in the yard, I am sitting in the river on a rock, with a great hubby and 2 dogs splashing about, and the peace of the breeze and the sun on my skin watching the last of the season’s butterflies flitting around.

  2. A few thoughts from another old guy on a couple of your (as usual) well-made points:
    1.It’s no coincidence that the peak in home ownership was right before the crash in ’08. “Evil bankers” were finding creative ways to help everyone achieve the American dream of home ownership. AND WE LOVED IT! Home values, construction jobs, building materials – all UP! We bragged to the world about it and how it showed the superiority of the USA. And God forbid if some lender or government official denied that dream to any prospective borrower with a heartbeat.
    4. Car leases have increased because fewer and fewer people can afford the payments on a car loan – which now run 6 years+.
    6&7. In Ohio, at least, “lake effect snow” has been used for as long as I can remember.
    9. Physical certificates have been done away with because the modern investor doesn’t buy and hold. Instead, they’re all fast-buck speculators trying to time purchases and sales to extract some micro- cent gains on minute market movements. Handling physical certicates slows them down and drives transaction costs through the roof.
    10&11. If your credit card gives you cash back or points, it’s only because they were charging you (directly or through charges to the merchant) too much in the first place. After all, everything is a business model.

    • “As you slide, however unwillingly, toward The Big Sleep”
      Right next to a funeral home here is a massage parlor a big sign says Rest on your time. It is positioned so everyone mistakes it as a sign for the funeral home.
      Lake affect snow.. I know several native Americans and the only way I’ve ever heard them refer it as is.. That dann snow is back..
      Owning your own home..even if you pay one off you still pay a monthly fee called property tax.
      When your heath gets to the point you move into some sort of assisted center you’ll end up paying around a quarter mil here the six grand to start monthly maintenance fees per the end well my mother was paying double that.
      To get into a nursing facility you have to be self pay otherwise you take what you can find that will accept welfare. Now these fees don’t include laundry.. Transportation physicians or medications. You cannot run down to the pharmacy and fill them either. You have to get the medications from their pharmacy.
      We had one guy that would have his son take him out and he would buy a five dollar bottle of Tylenol we would confiscate it. It has to be regulated.
      He showed me his monthly bill.. Five hundred plus for thirty of them.
      Many end up getting a divorce the reason every penny you get on ss is taken except for 75.00.
      I have seen multi millionaires die penniless.
      In the end you have a couple of boxes of assorted crap some photo’s and the memories of what you stood for. I’ve met and made friends from almost all walks of life. The rich the poor..
      Famous to infamous one thing I do know is I haven’t seen it all the minute you think you have something unique comes up and slaps you upside the head.
      I’ve met survivors from the camps in Germany to those that escaped..seniors of the titanic to latest friend a deep water engineer once famous and highly respected to some of the most amazing people that lived in dumpsters..Owning a home is an illusion.
      When I first started in healthcare we weren’t paid for it. It was volunteer work..

      • Oh to have a home health come in to give my mom eye drops for one week twice a day was 2500.00 while we went on vacation.
        My mother was what I would call frugal a year after her passing on she asked me. What happened to all mom’s money I laughed and said where do you think it went. The family will always say don’t worry we will take care of you. In reality we all know they can’t change their lives for you they have their own needs and lives to be concerned over.
        It can all be gone in a split second to.

      • My sister asked me..not mom..dann auto correct.. And survivor of the sinking of the titanic.
        I have a great Alfredo recipe from an old famous actor..

      • Time to make friends and shore up family. We did it for both parents. No nursing homes. Yes it is a sacrifice, but $2,500 is enough for a month of care!!!! Fleecing is what is happening to the elderly. Shameful for sure.

      • I can debate that Pits.. by the time you pay for three RN’s a day and supposed to be six aides minimum or more.. not counting the food the security the building and maintenance yada yada yada along with all the federal guidelines.. it all depends on what you are willing to do or sacrifice personally if you choose to take care of a family member most people cannot quit working to do it. if you were born after 1969 then I started working healthcare as one of my many hats before time began..before 1990 the pay was three dollars an hour and less. before the deregulation by the Reagan administration you had the daughters and sisters etc that would volunteer after that it became necessary for daughters to seek out employment. I didn’t make more than 4.25 an hour until after 1994 and nurses made 4.90 and assistants had to be certified. I will never forget the year that the hospitals fired all the nurses because they were trying to keep personnel costs down and profits up.. one year at one of my other many positions I fell thirty feet anyway my doctor ( who is the medical director now at one of the countries leading research hospitals.) would come by the house to check on me.. see I trained him in while he was in school I chose him as my physician because I know why he chose the position and it wasn’t because of money which I have seen so many many times.
        It is sad.. most families can’t tolerate seeing the family member age and aging is in most cases not very graceful. many many many sit by the window and will tell you about johnny or sue that will come visit them but they are busy.. when they do come they maybe stay for a few minutes then leave.
        the staff eventually becomes their family.
        Healthcare is extremely short. I cannot even tell you how many times I was the only one for the whole building lets face it they want to make money.. if there are three beds down out of a hundred they cut staff hours mandatory by a half hour.. if there is five beds down then they start to fire people usually the long term staff making the higher wages. Sad but true.
        It is the same in the hospital’s the ER is over run by people that cannot visit a clinic because they don’t have the funds to pay the price they want money up front so they wait till the clinic is closed and head to the ER where the initial cost is over a grand just to walk in the door. They diagnose but if you have something serious then they want a deposit.
        Personally I have seen both sides of this coin and would love to see them fix healthcare unfortunately the only way to fix it would cut into the bottom line for a great deal of companies whose stock holders want to see them make money.

      • oh the three rn’s is for twenty two people similar to daycare.. you have to have a required staff for them to keep the accreditation. Lately they have changed some of the laws I call the one (and debate this new law often the drop and flop law).. no bed rails or lap buddies or seat belts the patient has the right to get up and move when they want to.if you have had a surgery or some other issue the body has this fight and flight thing and people attempt to get up and move when they should be imobile. which if they could move around on their own safely then that is a good thing. unfortunately there are a good many that can’t.
        I had one person that would rip their intestines out and throw them on the floor.. we would use the restraints to keep the hands away from the wound.. sad case would tie trash bags and sheets around the bed to keep everything in tact. today you cannot use the restraints they don’t even have them available. seen many many similar and worse.. Like I said been there done that. there is a reason they charge the money they do..

  3. My friend Peter was a Navy SEAL in the mid-1960s, and came to visit here recently. We talked of old times when we were in the burglar alarm business where everything was relays and dry cell batteries, and if our time in southeast Asia, and of strings and shoes and sealing wax, and other things.

    All the while he sat on my couch he was interrupted by his “iPhone” (Peter would never settle for a mere smartphone — he always wanted The Best) many times. He’d peck on for a few seconds, and put it back in his shirt pocket. Many… Times…

    So, with a friendly smile, I asked to see the thing — to hold it and look at it.

    When he passed it over, I slipped it into my shirt pocket, and we resumed our chat. He was, of course, deeply troubled, and kept looking at my pocket.

    The iPhone hummed. I ignored it. His discomfiture resembled Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” as he became ever more panicked — but never said so.

    I told him I’d give it back when we were done conversing here in Meat-Space.

    Sad to see such a disciplined and strong of arm and mind guy addicted to that damn thing so powerfully.

    ..and so it goes.

    • Computer monitor radiation will make your hair fall out. Outsmart them and stick to the hard-copy websites; magazines if you will.

      • It will make your face and neck go blotchy brown like a hormone stain, too. Watch out hanging out in bed with that smart phone. They will also cause deafness and eye damage, thumb and finger damage, and neck and shoulder strain and slumping. Have you looked at some of the young people around you? Their posture sucks!

    • My husband saw a man standing at the urinal, in full dispensing mode, texting. That’s gotta be a new low point in human development.

  4. Blasé Pascal was once quoted, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

  5. George

    The next phone I buy MUST have an “Emergency Beam Up” button! I want to get Off of this planet!!!

  6. I don’t have time to play at that game.

    When I can order a real life, durable, live-in girlfriend or wife to spec from Amazon, I’ll go for that lifestyle. Until then, I have real work to do. Back to finishing some stucco…..

  7. George I want to throw this is every so often as might help a few of your readers. I am 83 this week and had yearly physical this week. Labs were perfect as compared to last year. I was able to lose 40 lbs in 4 months and all by following the health information in the book FATS FOR FUEL. Have been full of energy and never hungry since the middle of May. Am very happy to be at HS graduation weight and regaining great agility. Hope this is helpful to some of you. Has the potential to make the ride to the big sleep more enjoyable and productive.

  8. Credit card “points” are the 21st century equivalent of “green stamps”.
    I remember my Mother hoarding those little guys until she had enough to fill a new book.

  9. Pursuant to your noting of Snow White euphoria under the pleasure dome, the CBC published a report today. A start-up app developer looks to spike website users’ pleasure receptors. It struck me as both interesting yet troubling that the same developer markets an app to wean users from addictive website behaviors. I suppose it’s a means of profiting from each of the highs and the lows of pleasure curves.

  10. I may be one of the few non virtual people. When I tell people I don’t own a cell phone they look at me in shock. When I say I’ve never been in a WalMart the same look.

    I’m 60 years old, 120 pounds, grow my own food, take no meds, still doing construction, cut firewood, haul water, feed animals, married to great partner, built home, buy used cars, no cc debt, no mortgage, never go to the doctor for ‘tests’, don’t watch TV, no twitter, no facebook, read books instead.

    The end of life?
    in front of a TV in some ‘comfortable’ nursing home sounds terrifying but no way to know the future.

    Plan of Action? go along, stay away from processed food, chlorinated water and pharma drugs, say prayers, tread carefully, keep moving, stay positive and productive, be friendly, have a good dog for your pal, stay away from cities, visualize happiness.

    • marvelous lifestyle!
      If you give a doc power to “test”
      by definition you give them the power the “flunk” you…

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