- by Andrew Neumann
I recently read a thread on my iPhone about Dr. Frank Ryan and his unfortunate demise - Death by ‘Tweet’. While this may sound like I am making light of a very real and very tragic circumstance, I assure you that I am not. . . well maybe I am.
Sure, I can hear you bad mouthing me already and I haven’t even gotten what I wanted to say spit out of my mouth. Perhaps you can give me a moment to finish my thoughts before you pass judgement. At the risk of sounding absurd, while Dr. Ryan’s death is certainly very tragic, it could have been, beyond the shadow of a doubt, prevented. For those who may not know, Dr. Ryan, while driving and tweeting, managed to miss a very important curve in the road and drove off a cliff in Malibu CA, plunging to his death.
We managed to master walking and chewing gum why can we not do the same with driving and tweeting? Let me hit you with some knowledge – they don’t go together. In this equation 1+1 does not equal 2! I am overwhelmed at the idea that our addiction to social media streams and the need to be ‘in the know’ may cost us our lives literally, figuratively and however else you want to look at it. Who would have thought that the grim reaper would trade in his cloke and sythe for a pair of coke bottle bottom glasses and a handheld device – what a nerd! C’mon folks, let’s get real. Is it really worth it? Can we not go more than a few minutes without getting the information at our fingertips at the speed of light, all news all the time, hit me up with a tweet or did you see the latest status update for your best friend on FB type of lifestyle even when death is parked just around the corner maybe not even parked anymore but zooming straight up your tailpipe. I suppose a few minute lull in texting or streaming would be a God send for some. I appreciate life far too much to risk death by tweet (yeah I will tell myself that while I write this article . . the next time I am on 76 though . . ) I have this discussion with my wife all of the time – that common sense, as much as we would like to believe it is a real thing, does not and cannot exist, especially after reading about the unfortunate and untimely demise of Dr. Ryan. Surely he had to think that what he was doing was not the ‘best’ possible combination – driving and tweeting – surely he had to think that. We will never know.
The next time you get behind the wheel you need to ask yourself or reaffirm the fact that life is worth living, that the information will still be available to you when you reach your destination, that you can tweet responsibly – when the time is write (sounds like a Cialis commercial) and the right time is not while you are speeding down the highway, or for that matter when you are stuck in traffic. I offer to you, if you want to tweet and drive, play the lottery – win a boat load of money – and hire a car service to tote your technologically superior lifestyle around. If your life is not worth it, I assure you mine is!
I did a quick Google search on ‘People who have died by tweeting and driving’ – I thought the results would come back with just 1 Result, Dr. Ryan. I was humbled to read 1 thread posted through Wiki that suggests over 100,000 souls lost their lives to this deadly combo. 1 life lost to this phenomenon is tragic but 100,000, c’mon what are we doing wrong? We may not be far off from car manufacturers needing to install an Interlock device in our automobiles that will force us to dock our handhelds before the engine can turn over. Not such a bad idea considering – don’t ya think?