Are you a member of the Thumb Gen?
A growing problem has begun in major cities and is spreading across the country. Emergency room personnel and police departments are now referring to it as WWT…walking while texting. As funny as this may sound, there are more than 4,000 pedestrian deaths a year and tens of thousands of injuries caused by DW (distracted walking.) An Ohio State University study found about 1,000 injuries reported at hospitals related to texting while walking. Obamacare does cover that I’m told.
USA TODAY reported last year a 45-year-old woman had to be rescued from Lake Michigan after she fell off a pier. Yes, she was texting and walking. I’m not sure if a bag of rice managed to save her phone. I know you were wondering about that.
And here’s a fact that’ll have all those government workers who were sent home saying some choice words about Congress. As of August, more than 20 cities are eligible for a $2 million grant to combat distracted walking pedestrian deaths.
Yes…in the age of sequest-frustration, and federal financial doom and gloom, the government is spending money to remind people that it’s a bad idea to step out in front of a moving bus.
Daahhhh! I didn’t know that. You learn something new everyday.
We’ve all laughed over the YouTube videos of people who did dumb stuff while texting…like the lady who walked into a mall fountain in Pennsylvania . FYI…I heard she was suing the mall security people for posting the video even though she can’t be identified in the grainy video.
State legislatures in the densely populated states are actually discussing ways to allocate money to deal with this so-called problem.
Last year New Jersey police started issuing $85 fines for careless walking related to texting. New Jersey needs the money. The Utah Transit Authority also started citing distracted walkers $50 for texting and walking near trains. Delaware has placed large stickers shouting “LOOK UP” on sidewalks and near crosswalks. Not sure how they will read those signs if they are glued to their phones. If they do see it, they might think it’s a religious sign.
So the government sees this as a problem – just as it seems to think we need a label on a can of oil reminding us that it’s not a good idea to drink it.
But, I don’t see it as a problem. Darwin had it right. I think it is Mother Nature at work. It is simply nature’s way of ‘thinning the herd.’ No matter what the species, the dumb ones are weeded out. If you don’t thin them out, you risk one day following them off the edge of a cliff while texting to them. This basic law has been working very well for every species, except the human one.
We have labels for all possible combinations of people. Baby Boomers, Millenials, Gen X, Gen Y, and so on. But, next time you see someone walking while texting, just say to yourself, “There goes a member of the Thumb Gen.”
And keep your distance. Mother Nature is looking to thin the herd.
Danny is a white-collar professional with a blue-collar upbringing. He enjoys crabs with Old Bay and Natty Boh with friends at one of their favorite bars in Fells Point. His son and daughter go to public school and he often talks with neighbors after work as he walks his dog. Follow him on Twitter: @DannyDundalk