The other day some kids in Magdalena took advantage of our spring winds playing with a curious diamond-shaped object flying around in the sky which was attached to a piece of string they held in their hands.

What a sight to behold in our modern era of Xbox-Blackberry-Bluetooth-digitized computerized craziness and convenience. There’s a singular gratification connected with holding onto a simple piece of string that beats all to heck shooting bad guys on a computer screen. Granted, it’s not rocket science, but it’s a challenge all the same. It takes skill. You have a simple framework of flimsy paper that wants to go this way or that and up or down and the only thing that keeps it in the air is what you do with your end of the string. We’re talking serious hand-eye coordination.

Before I break into a chorus of Mary Poppins’ Let’s Go Fly a Kite at this point, I’m thinking probably someone’s made a video game that simulates flying a kite.

And why not? Without getting off your rear you can do practically anything. You can drive simulated cars, fly simulated jet airplanes and even create a simulated family in a simulated house in a simulated city. You can watch a simulated fireplace and roll a simulated bowling ball down a simulated bowling lane.

I’ll bet there’s even one that simulates an Easter egg hunt. And, God forbid, another one where you can shoot the bunny as it hops around hiding the eggs.

Now I don’t want to pass judgment on anyone who likes to play a game on their computer – I do it myself occasionally – because it does have benefits, much like therapy for reducing stress. You just kind of tune everything out for a while. About the most complicated game I have personally played is Angry Birds, and I even have tried my hand at Zombies Vs. Plants, but those get my blood pressure up. Not that I mind some excitement, but when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like real-life excitement, and I don’t mean the simulated excitement of flinging rocks at pigs or killing zombies with carrots and rutabagas.

About my computer habit, a few weeks ago it became abundantly clear that my trusty ol’ 17-inch Dell laptop was letting me know it had had enough, what with the slow booting and backlit keyboard that keeps popping loose in the upper left-hand corner.

Hmm, that’s where the “escape” key is located.

I’ve used that thing for work (and dispatching zombies) for going on five years and even increased its memory and put in a big fat hard drive. Its CD burner gave out and I replaced that, too. But it’s kind of like an old friend that you hate to give up on. And not to mention the $550 it cost me.

I remember when people started talking about planned obsolescence back in the fifties, the idea that things you buy will wear out or stop functioning in order for you to buy a new one.

You know, like iPhones and the latest incarnation of Windows.

On the other hand, there are some products you wish would go ahead and wear out because you were just tired of looking at them.

For instance, I’ve been known to replace a perfectly fine coffee maker, on the premise that with a new one my coffee would taste better, but also because it was new and shiny and clean.

And even though that old cathode-ray television was still working just fine after more years than I want to count, we went ahead and replaced it with one of the new flat screens. But, I must admit it was an improvement on the old idiot box with its super high definition, but do I really want to see every single pore and beard stubble in fine detail on some actor’s face?

Anyway, I’ve come to the realization that along with everything else, laptops come and go. It’s just one of my tools for work and play. Like someone once said, mind is like my internet browser. 19 tabs are open, 3 of them are frozen, and I have no idea where the music is coming from.

As mentioned above, flying a kite is known to be a terrific stress reliever and I dare say you can do it mask-less, letting the wind sweep all the bad germs from landing on your face.

Speaking of relieving stress, I learned on KANW the other day that the latest thing is “cow cuddling.” Now, that has nothing to with the cud a cow is chewing, but rather the embracing of a calm bovine. The report said that some entrepreneurial farmers are even renting heifers out at $75 for a 60 minute session.

Could you call that a cash cow?

 

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