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Happy Feast of Stephen!

'Church in the Snow,' painted by Norwegian artist Theodor Severin Kittelsen in 1907.

Happy Second Day of Christmas!  Just contemplating, for a moment, the quiet joy that was Christmas Day this year in the von Boffke household, the first like that in several years.  Why can't we collectively have more similar days during the rest of the year?  Those quiet, relaxed, calm, uncomplicated times that are filled with the small joys of immediate family and pleasant company capped off by a special meal.  We all need more of that, I think, when we actually talk to and laugh with each other rather than stare vapidly into our phones, or check the damn things every few minutes.  Or, where we simply enjoy each others' company as we look over the books and other gifts we've received once again after we finally drag ourselves upstairs to get dressed by early afternoon and return to the living room or other gathering point in the family home with another cup of coffee or a glass of eggnog a short while later.  

It just might be possible.  And it costs nothing.  Here is what I propose to all average guys looking to kick up their everyday style in the broadest sense.  Let's make 2014 the year when we say "No more!" to the overly connected, overly scheduled, overly busy 24/7 way of life that has overtaken our post-postmodern existence.  I hardly suggest we turn our backs on modern conveniences like internal plumbing and central heating. . .  or the technological gadgets that many of us think we think we "need."  No need to adopt a Luddite approach since many of us work daily with computers or the like in any case, and it would be awfully difficult to function in the world of 2013 without any of that at this point.  

But the constant go, go, go and often needless, self-imposed obligation to be overly wired and tethered to our I-phones, I-pads, etc. -- something that these very devices seem to encourage -- cannot be good for us or those around us in the long term.  You know what I mean.  People always available and/or constantly checking for the latest texts, voice mails, and e-mails.  Just because you've got wireless at home, or it is available in a restaurant or cafe, doesn't mean you need to or should whip out your latest portable electronic non-status symbol for all to see and hear you use it.  Let's give some serious thought during this quiet Christmas Week to reducing the control that technology has over our non-work lives and interaction with others in the New Year and, hopefully, beyond it.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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