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Get ready for the Wii bowling urinal challenge

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POSTED March 29, 2013 1:49 a.m.

Enough is enough.

Do we have to be exposed to the onslaught of high tech entertainment literally everywhere we go?

It was bad enough when sports bars started posting copies of the San Francisco Sporting Green at eye-level above urinals. It was equally insane when Disneyland starting putting TV screens in restrooms.

Now the Allentown minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies has taken bathroom entertainment to an even lower level with a urinal gaming system.

There is a display screen above each urinal. The video console senses the approach of a fan and goes into gaming mode. The game starts when the guy starts. He aims left or right to control action on the screen.

Great, now going to the bathroom is a form of interactive entertainment.

They’re assuming, of course, the fans will even be paying attention to the screen. In the past year there’s been more than a few guys spotted who multi task while using public urinals by keeping one hand busy with a smartphone. They weren’t futures traders keeping their blood pressure up while executing multi-million dollar orders. Instead they were more than likely downloading YouTube videos or texting friends.

Who knows? Maybe they were Tweeting their followers that they were standing in front of porcelain. Nothing is too mundane to share with 130,000 “friends” instantly these days.

It makes you long for the day when someone had to put some thought into committing words to paper in a quaint archaic art form known as letter writing. Today people just text away with no second thought given to what they send.

And it may soon get worse. The day is coming when someone wearing Google glasses recording everything they see throughout the day may well send streaming media to the Internet of them urinal gaming. There is no privacy anymore. No sense of boundaries.

And for all the interaction there is no interaction.

Try walking down the street. You are seeing less and less people looking at others in the eye or - heaven forbid - saying “hi” as they pass fellow humans in real time. Instead, they have their noses buried in mobile device screens.

Enjoying your surroundings is now passé. Many people now spend as much tine recoding their experiences as trying to live them.

Just a generation ago Americans thought the cliché of Japanese tourists snapping photos non-stop was way overboard. By today’s standards they would be 21st century Luddites.

Hike to the top of Mt. Whitney and you’ll see people spending the entire time they are on the summit taking cell video and cell photos as well as texting and calling friends. In one of the ironic twists of the wireless age you can actually get cell service at 14,505 feet in the Sierra but experience dropped calls in Manteca.

No one just stands or sits anymore and soaks in what’s in front of them. The last time I hiked to Mt. Whitney I took maybe six photos from the summit. I can’t tell you where those are at but I can playback everything in my memory as if I was still standing there.

We spend more time today gathering, downloading, and storing our experiences than we do experiencing them. We’re creating a superficial electronic version of our lives at the expense of being less involved with our lives.

Technology does make things easier and can entertain us anywhere but it does so at a heavy expense. We skim off the easy stuff and leave deeper life experiences untapped. Our new priority is recording what we do to post on the web instead of exploring life more intently.

It is also making us look a little foolish.

Back in the Stone Age when Bluetooth technology first came out, I was jogging down toward a young man near Woodward Park who was flailing his arms about as if he were having some type of violent psychotic breakdown.

As I jogged closer I started contemplating taking evasive action in case he lunged toward me. When I got within range of his voice it became clear he was fighting apparently with his girl friend using his Bluetooth device. That allowed him to swing his arms about madly when he was angrily making a point.

And like many cell phone users who apparently have no idea their high tech devices have volume levels, he was talking loud enough people from 30 feet away could hear his conversation.

That’s why the next time I go to use the men’s room and some guy is dancing in front of the urinals, I won’t assume he’s in a desperate rush to unzip and not have an accident. Given the latest entertainment trend he might just be Wii bowling. Or should that be wee bowling?



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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