A few months ago, I had the dubious pleasure of attending the Red Bull Flugtag here in Chicago.
That was about three different flavors of crazy, largely because of the armies of people who worship at the altar of Red Bull. Honestly, I had no idea these people existed.
While I went to see people crash gigantic pinatas into the lake, others came because they love Red Bull more than the family dog. Yeah, it was odd.
One of the things that struck me - more than the number of unfortunate tattoos and sleeveless shirts - was an announcement to make sure people knew where they'd meet each other if they got separated in the crowds.
I haven't heard this for roughly a decade.
It's so easy today to call back and forth if there's an issue that it's pretty strange to think of what a hassle events like this used to be. If I get cut off from the herd, I pull out my phone and call or text and the problem is solved.
The "will so and so please meet their party in the east end of the park..." message faded so quickly that I never had time to even miss it.
Today, I e-mailed a friend to try and get the username and password for something and didn't think twice about getting a response in a matter of moments. If he wasn't at a computer, his e-mail would buzz through on his phone and the problem would be solved.
I was getting election results from my dad this year faster than CNN could update me on live TV. I know about the weather by checking my phone on the bus by tapping three buttons and seeing the radar map in its postage stamp sized glory.
Just think about that for a second (readers younger than 20 can skip this step, because it's always been like this for you). A phone in your pocket now means instant data, maps, weather reports, sports scores and news. And that's just the tip of this digital iceberg, not taking into account the number of upgrades available on the newest phones.
Say what you will about 24-hour accountability - and I am a huge opponent of it - but damn if it doesn't make life easier in the big picture.
I don't think I'm going too far to say that the stupid bar bet - "He was not the MVP in 1996!"- is on the endangered species list. I'd write more, but I just got an e-mail reply sent to my phone faster than to my laptop and it's time to turn on a little background noise as I work.
(Image from: Sybarites.org)