Skip to content

So a Rabbi, Priest and a Computer walk into a bar…

August 4, 2011

Many a joke start out sort of that way, but this story about a couple being married by a computer program apparently isn’t one. As the bride explained, “We’re both friends of the computer. So it’s kind of like our best friend is still marrying us.” I see. Last week my daughter begged me to stop spending so much time peering into the emotionally empty trio of my laptop, iPad and droid, and spend more time with the humans in my life. She’s right of course, but I staunchly defended my honor, explaining the consumption and dissemination of information is a huge part of my job. Megan shook her head in disgust, and then went off to update her Facebook page…

Technology makes it so easy to communicate without ever having to see or talk to who you’re communicating with. Back a few years ago, Megan and I had some very uncomfortable conversations that may not have taken place face to face, but sitting in the same room, one facing West and the other South, instant messaging facilitated healing digital dialogue. With a technology assist through that difficult period, we’re now closer than most fathers and daughters and our communication is mostly old fashioned conversation. It’s the same with my Analog Girl. Sure, she’ll text a quick note from her sturdy retro flip phone, but she’s much more comfortable face to face.

OK, so back to the wedding thing. I think the computer minister stunt was simply a grab at their 15 minutes, and a sad one. I’m the best man at an upcoming wedding that won’t include a computer (Note to self: Put the droid on silent mode…), but may require the Rabbi and Priest. I think a marriage requires humans, and the one I’m attending has them. The groom and I often share post-work conversation over a glass of wine and some appetizer. Between streams of words we check Blackberry and Droid. Sometimes it’s work stuff, other times a silly Facebook update. We share mostly words of humor, encouragement, understanding and sometimes even (though not intentional – we’re guys) feelings… One day recently I told the groom how lucky he was to have met his bride at this point in life (Yeah, he’s old.). After the obligatory, “What the hell is she thinking” query, I told him what a wonderful person I thought she was and that she was “solid.” Then I said, “You’re solid too.”

He put his Blackberry down and waved me away, exiting toward the men’s room looking like he rubbed hot Cajun wing spice in his eyes. I’m not exactly sure what the hell went on there, but I texted Analog Girl, “Just made Alan cry.” The text was an example of how we can instantaneously share our own personal experiences with others through technology, but with limits. The human experience just doesn’t fully translate when converted to 0’s and 1’s.

My droid may be smart, but it doesn’t have a heart.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: