posted by Matt W on May 7th, 2014

I love the red sky. In the late afternoon, I like to sit on my front patio (usually with my dog) and look at the red sky. My favorite time is when the sun is recently down and the red sky fades into a dark navy blue sky filled with stars. It’s amazing. Mornings in Tennessee also bring many red skies reflecting off the puffy clouds as they roll by. It was one such morning while extended family was in town, that I remarked, “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight.”

“Where is that from?” my wife inquired.

“The Bible,” I replied. In unison the whole room disagreed.

I said “Look it up. I’m pretty sure it’s in Matthew. Try chapter 15 or 16,” (and they think I’m the heathen).

As I started to leave the room to find a Bible with a concordance (which is how my brain works), everybody else consulted their smartphone (which is how everyone else’s brain apparently works).

I have an excellent memory. I remember stories from my childhood, facts from books I read decades ago, math formulas from high school, and just about every bit of sports history I’ve ever come in contact with. I remember things. I was the person to have on your Trivial Pursuit team 20 years ago. Fast forward to today and while I still think it is really important, most people (especially my kids) think a good memory is over-rated; that is what a smart phone and a programmable calculator is for.

“You were right, it is in Matthew. That’s surprising,” are the words that greet me as I return.

As I speculate in my head as to whether they thought it was surprising the passage was in Matthew or that I was correct, I replied, “Yes, I know.”

“You could have just looked it up on your phone… if you had one,” was the next salvo.

“Ironically, you couldn’t have if I didn’t pay for that one,” was my return fire.

“Seriously, there are so many things you can do with your phone, so many facts to check, you would love it. You should get one,” was the calming response of my nephew.

I don’t hate technology as most people in my life believe. I crave information about the world and there is an unlimited amount of it on the web. But if I only relied on my phone for information instead of my brain, how would I have even known to make the original red sky quote? And once in a conversation how do you form logical thoughts when your memory is at your fingertips instead of in your brain? While my sons routinely share interesting facts with me they have found on their phones, they have usually found these facts to discuss while seemingly ignoring me by looking at their phones (they say their paying attention). While you would think that pulling up interesting facts from a phone to converse about, would spur conversation between people, in reality the world gets quieter because people are usually more comfortable surfing than talking to a real human. But what’s really distressing is we experience less of the world around us when we are looking down at our phones.

“You’re probably right, I should probably get one and just have my reading glasses with me all the time,” is my calmer response. “My only suggestion to all of you is to look up from your phone every once in a while. You all missed a spectacular red sky this morning.”

File Under Jack of all Trades