Showing posts from June, 2015

Deadlier Than Guns

I’d barely finished moving into in my first apartment when through the paper-thin walls I could hear angry female words of reproach and mocking. I muffled the noise by turning up the stereo. Yet I wondered about my sharp-tongued neighbor—and the one on the receiving end.
A couple weekends later, when I’d hoped to sleep in, I was awakened by a crash. I could tell something broke—but the words that followed were worse. “You’re a complete idiot!” she screamed with her trademark venom. I could hear the sound of feet running and a younger voice saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Her tirade was more than mean-spirited; it was cruel. I felt awful.

Later, I was outside watering the plants by my front door when my neighbors emerged from their apartment. The woman looked at me briefly, unsmiling and holding the hand of a young boy—probably five or so. 
His dark eyes locked onto mine. Was he silently pleading with me? His mom jerked him forward, but as he walked away he turned and looked at me with…

Every Family Needs One

The tiny infant in the intensive care incubator was his first child. It all happened too quickly. When his wife’s labor had started two months too soon he rushed her to their rural doctor. She was immediately flown to a medical center 100 miles away. A fierce snowstorm couldn’t stop him from hurrying to get there. 
As a farmer he knew about hard labor, caring for a crop, and the harvest. But this was unexpected and out of his control. Welcome to fatherhood.
As his work-worn fingers gently touched the tiny fingers of his precious daughter, he knew his life was no longer his own. He had no idea what that meant.

It meant cutting and selling more firewood while waiting for his summer crops to harvest.
It meant shoveling snow in the bitter cold, building fences, digging ditches, taking odd jobs—all so he could come home afterwards and enjoy his baby girl’s smile.
It meant changing careers and building a business so he could come home afterwards and watch her little legs run after him in…

Injectable Passwords

Passwords—we all need them. We’re advised to give each account a separate, complex password and then memorize all of them. Yeah right. I was actually doing fairly well until my personal data was hacked. Twice. I had to change a dozen passwords. Twice.Last month I changed my email password three times because of fraudulent activity.

But I won’t have to memorize passwords much longer. Pretty soon I’ll be able to eat them. No kidding. Fingerprint and eye scans are now old-fashioned, and technology is going straight to injectable, embeddable, and ingestible devises for foolproof personal identification.
At a recent tech conference, PayPal’s head technology developer, Jonathan Leblanc enthusiastically explained the advancements in human identification. The next wave of ID for online interactions will be a “true integration with the human body.”

Why bother with antiquated methods like fingerprints, when you can ingest a device that can recognize your distinct heartbeat?
It gets better: …

Graduates: Choosing the Best

The school counselor’s office was at the end of a long hallway lined with lockers. Hundreds of teenaged feet had worn a pathway in the aged linoleum—right to his door. He nodded for me to enter and even though I shut the door behind me, I could still hear the echoes of student voices as they waited for the final bell.
At a time when teens generally feel uncertain, my world seemed particularly so. Discussions about divorce were taking place at home, and even though we’d recently moved to a terrific home and I’d decorated my room with hanging beads and posters, remaining there wasn’t an option—the home would be sold.
Deciding whether to stay with my dad or move away with my mom brought me to the chair in the school counselor’s office. Since I lived in a small town, he already knew about the pending divorce. His wife was my piano teacher, and I’d babysat their kids.
But rather than talk about which parent I preferred or what school I should attend, he wisely talked about a good choice …