ZYTARUK: A lament for all Bensons, everywhere

On turning beans into peas, and being mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence

Hey

So let it be written…

“We can make beans into peas!”

That’s what the minion, Benson, blurts in the movie Time Bandits as his master, Evil, fantasizes about possessing the power to overthrow creation itself.

“Oh Benson, Dear Benson,” Evil replies.

“You are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.”

Gotta like that line. So many people today lead liberated lives. You see them in shopping malls, driving cars, walking down sidewalks. Some even know how to use telephones.

Why, just last week, we learned about 82 Bensons.

Let’s call them the Surrey 82.

These people called emergency 911, following last Tuesday’s earthquake, to ask police dispatchers if more earthquakes are on the way, how to get their kids to bed after the shake-up, and other silly, silly questions. Woe be it to them when the big one hits.

The other thing is the so-called “Wexters” or “Digital Deadwalkers.” Namely, the people you see walking about entirely oblivious to their surroundings because they are hypnotized by their hand-held devices.

They call them Smart phones. But Smart users? Not so much.

I’ve seen people step off curbs and charge headlong into heavy traffic while they were texting. I once saw two women do a face-crash. Both had been entranced by their phones. Might as well have been blindfolded. They could have called each other an idiot, and they would have both been right.

I’ve also see people texting while riding their bicycles. Amazing.

People, is the electronic “me” show so compelling you are willing to put yourselves, and potentially others, in harm’s way?

Tragically, a guy walked off a cliff in San Diego on Christmas Day while looking at a hand-held electronic device.

Authorities aren’t sure if it was a camera or phone he was looking at, because it hasn’t been recovered. He fell 60 feet to his death.

Distracted walking has become such a public safety issue that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons put out a list of six related safety tips. I won’t recite them here because as I figure it, there’s really only one tip to embrace and that’s to pay attention to where you’re going.

As if injuries and deaths incurred by reckless walking aren’t tragic enough in themselves, one can only imagine what some of the victims were viewing on their phones before calamity struck.

Personally, I haven’t acquired the bad habit of texting or looking at stuff on my phone while I’m walking. But I do surf the web, and sometimes happenstance reveals strange things.

I am sad to report that one of the last things I read online in 2015 was a Yahoo.ca story under the headline “God Made Eve from Adam’s Penis, Not His Rib, Academic Claims.”

What followed was 514 comments, most of them erupting with banal pseudo-think.

One stand-out offering was from a guy named Khalid: “I’d say that religious types are going to be surprised when they die and there’s no afterlife,” he wrote. Really, Khalid? Be raising their non-afterlife eyebrows in disbelief, will they?

If Khalid is correct about the afterlife — I wouldn’t take his word for it — we’re in a real quandary for answers because it seems Darwin got it wrong, too. How so? Well, in order for his theory to hold water, humans as a species would have to be a higher life form. And all of the above seems to negate that, if intelligence is any criterion.

But if there is something to his theory, and we do actually evolve along with the passage of time, perhaps this new year will hold out some wee hope for progress.

So let it be done.

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