An Open Letter to Alexander Graham Bell

The dashing Alexander Graham Bell

Dear Alexander Graham Bell,

I just wanted to let you know that I am less than impressed with your “greatest invention” because most of the problems in our world all stem from it.


Was it so bad that people had to put work and effort into courting a member of the opposite sex, maintaining friendships, or sharing information?  Was it really bad for us to have to wait for a response filled with beautiful words and lovely penmanship signed with a person’s actual name instead of getting a “Wats up?” (yes, spelled that way) or “K” in a text message?

I understand that your intention was to give us the immediate gratification of speaking with and hearing the voice of someone who was important to us.  But, you know people.  You know we couldn’t just leave it at that.  That kind of technology was bound to be changed and all the good it was meant to bring would be tossed aside so that people could use it for their own convenience and selfish purposes.

There is something to be said for having beautiful handwriting and the ability to speak sentences that are longer than 140 characters. Take for example this excerpt of a letter, written by St. Francis Xavier who was living in India to his friends, St. Ignatius and Bl. Peter Favre who were in Rome:

“God our Lord knows how much more consolation my soul would have from seeing you than from writing such uncertain letters as these to you because of the great distance between these lands and Rome; but since God has removed us, though we are so much alike in spirit and in love, to such distant lands, there is no reason…for a lessening of love and care in those who love each other in the Lord.”

Thanks to the phone, Mr. Bell, much of society fails to communicate words of this depth to one another.  People feel insecure, “Why didn’t this person call or text?”  People waste time on Angry Birds and Bejeweled while sitting in a doctor’s office, instead of talking to the people around them.  People check their phone so that they don’t have to make eye contact with others.  And, people often misunderstand what another is saying to them because they speak in text (or e-mail or Facebook message which they can get on their phone) instead of face to face or, heck, even ON the phone.

I WISH phones were still this complicated! Maybe we'd use them a little more wisely...

I know you thought you were doing a good thing, Mr. Bell; and, for a while there, you probably got things right.  But, since I live in a world where nothing is anyone’s fault (least of all mine), it’s easier to blame poor communication skills on someone else.  And, that someone else would be you.

So, Alexander Graham Bell, thanks for nothing.  Next time you have a good idea, you should probably just keep it to yourself.  Unless you want to Tweet about it from your phone to get some feedback first.


*I don’t really have a problem Alexander Graham Bell.  But, I do kind of hate the phone.

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