Screen Time – Shtisel – and An Ox that Gored a Cow

Screen Time – Shtisel – and An Ox that Gored a Cow

There is a lot of buzz lately about the dangers of screen time, too much social media, its connection to anxiety and depression and even suicide and beyond. (I know for myself, I took the Facebook app off my phone (one month today) requiring me to either go onto Facebook on my browser, slow and glitchy, or do it on a PC or IPad, and I simply don’t get around to it much. Hours have been added to my day and life. Here is the greatest shocker, I don’t think I’ve missed much. (If I’ve missed your birthday another significant event, and you only posted it to Facebook, please don’t be offended, I most likely didn’t see it.)

You’d wonder what the Talmud written over 1500 years ago might have to say on the topic. The truth is, as our sages say (Ethics of our Fathers), “Delve into it, delve into it (referring to the Torah) for everything is in it” rings very true here as well.

If you’ve ever peeked in on a yeshiva or cheder classroom, (or if you’ve been watching a little too much Shitsel) you may have run into the a few students singing to one another, about a Shor Shenogach es Haparah – if an ox gored a cow, and the ensuing tort laws.

However, as outdated as these laws may seem, the laws of an ox goring a cow actually have some deep lessons to teach us. How? Follow me here a bit…

Here is a concise summary of the laws. (Bava Kama 37a) A normally docile animal – an ox for example – has a presumption of being docile, domesticated and safe. As such, if it breaks from its normal habit, and attacks and maims/kills another animal – a cow for example, it is not considered the full fault of the owner (different from American law where you are always responsible for damage done by your possessions)) for what should he have done different? Put it on a leash? Lock it up in a pen? There was no reason to assume it would commit any damage. It’s bad luck for both parties, and the law is they must divide the pain. They split the cost of the damages.

If, however, the ox gored 3 times, it is now considered a muad, a violent animal, and it loses its presumption of docility. Now the owner must put it on a leash, or lock it the barn or whatever is needed to keep it from maiming/killing other animals. If he does not put adequate protections in place, and it goes out and harms another animal/property, the owner is considered to be negligent and must pay the entirety of the damages. 

This is the gist of the laws. 

There is however an interesting exception. You can have a scenario where the ox can be docile all week, but be considered a violent and dangerous animal on Shabbos. This would happen, if it gores three times, and each time is on Shabbos, then it is now considered a muad, a violent animal but only for Shabbos. Thus, Sunday through Friday it is a docile animal, and on Shabbos it is now considered a muad/violent animal.

Why? What could be the meaning and reason for such a strange exception to the general law?

There are many commentaries that explain this, however Rashi, the quintessential commentator,  explains, that the reason is boredom. Since a Jewish animal owner must let his animal rest on Shabbos, and it cannot plow or do other things to allow it to blow off steam and express its animal self, the animal is bored. When it is bored and doesn’t know what to do with itself, it acts out, and often violently.

Thus you have an animal can be considered docile all week, except for Shabbos when it is bored.

Do you see where this is going?

Let me help: All of us has a little animal inside of us. It is often known as the animal soul. Not a bad soul, but a self-centered and self-oriented, self-aggrandizing part of ourselves. It has a proclivity towards bad things, but doesn’t necessarily act on it.

We also have times when we suddenly find ourselves bored and often that causes us to act out.

Try this experiment at home. Take your teen’s (or younger -oy vey) cell phone away for an hour at any random time. See what happens?

If you get lucky, they will start to do the dishes, or perhaps fold some laundry. OK or Okay Ok, just kidding, that is not happening, no fantasies here, but perhaps they may draw, read a book or some other healthy way to spend this sudden free/bored time.

More likely they will start to flip out.

Confession time: When I inadvertently leave home without my phone, it feels like I left a limb at home. It takes a long time for me to rid myself of that feeling that I left a limb at home. Why? Why is this? The simple answer is, that we’ve lost the art of just being. 

Just being present, mindful with ourselves and our thoughts. If I, who remembers a time pre-cell phones, struggles with this, then children who have no recollection of a time before phones, Facebook and the all-knowing Google, who can blame them?

So what then is the solution? And how do we manage every Shabbos, going offline for 24 25 hours?

I believe the answer is the same. 

Let’s get back to the ox that gored the cow. Can it regain its status as a docile animal once it earned a title of damager? 

The Talmud teaches us that it required intense re-training. Animal anger-management classes. Thorough behavioral modifications, to the point that it loses that angst within and can become calm again. Teaching it to find something productive to fill those empty spaces of time and times of angst so that it can find another healthier outlet for that overwhelming passion flowing through its veins.

Similarly, us with our inner-animal and our inability to free ourselves from our screen time. We must put our inner-animal through intense retraining. More importantly, to teach ourselves to replace the device with something else that fills that hole of existence that exists within all of us.

For myself, personally, I began a study regiment of the Talmud nearly 5 years ago, that requires me to study a designated amount every day, so that I can finish the Talmud in just under 8 years. It is burden, but one that keeps me focused. I have a default, go to position when my device is unavailable. 

Apple phones, now have a feature called screen time, where you can monitor your usages of each specific app, and more importantly, you can put limits on each of them. Allow yourself some time, but then, like any good diet, put restrictions on yourself. 

Replace that time with something filling.

You can’t stop smoking, without replacing that time and feeling with something else, like exercise.

You can’t stop eating unhealthy, without replacing that garbage food with good and filling healthy food.

You can’t replace that device (which feels like your best friend, that only smiles at you and tells you good things about yourself, (it is better than a dog, it doesn’t need to be fed or cleaned-up after)) without replacing it with something meaningful that helps you feel just as good.

For us, it is Shabbos. Yes, there is some detox time and pain. There are times when Shabbos observers struggle without their technology on Shabbos, but with time, they learn to make it habit and even enjoy it.

And so, when you think about an ox goring a cow and all its associated laws, and think this is an outdated useless piece of data, you can now realize that everything in our eternal Torah has a practical application. 

A Woke Article About Nothing

A very different kind of article – your feedback is welcome!

I pledged to write 52 blogs in 52 weeks, based on personal experiences and attempt to be vulnerable and share personal thoughts, feelings and ideas. To write stuff that goes beyond the occasional inspiration Torah thought that goes with the territory of my life. You can catch up on old blogs at However, not always are you motivated and inspired? Sometimes you are just not feeling it.

I know, it is a foreign concept, but even rabbis wake some days (weeks/months) not very inspired. To go and write something deep, vulnerable and sharing actually requires more effort – at least for this writer – more energy and strength than a complex philosophical analytical piece.

Having said that, being the competitive – no room for failure – guy that I am, I am not about to fail my commitment, even if the only one monitoring or caring is myself.

Remember the old Seinfeld days, where a show about nothing was great entertainment, and actually deep? I am wondering if that is replaying itself with some on fleek modification for today’s woke generation.

I opted to write about this, a topic about the nothingness of some of today’s enlightened woke, rather than not write at all.
My kids introduce me to the latest of lingo, and while I hear the words and the explanations, I cannot say I alway understand, and I most certainly don’t always agree.

So here was the latest one. Woke. I used to understand that to mean, I am now awake. As in, “I woke up.”

In today’s woke generation, It is not a description of sleep or its opposite, it is now a description of how progressive you are – as in you are awake/woke(n) up to an issue that they deem important. Here is an example from the urban dictionary. 

“Yeah most people don’t care about parking spaces for families with disabled pets. I wish they were woke like me.”

I guess I am seriously not woke at all. Certainly according to my kids. Though I did score a three pointer (a term that worked when I was their age, and still works a bit now, at least for me) when discussing life and Gd with a couple of 20 year olds at our Shabbat table a few weeks ago. They were dismissing the relevance of religion and Gd in today’s world and to today’s youth, and responded “what are you talking about? Gd is so woke.”
They fell on the floor and nearly died. Then again that may be because I misused “their” word. Who knows.

I knew I was seriously irrelevant when I had a little incident with one of my kids the other day. It highlighted the intensity to which today’s generation (Millennials, or Gen Z or Snowflakes – they can’t even decide what they want to called their self-absorbed selves) are speaking in a different tounge.
We were having a disagreement about something, and I told him – not my best parenting moment – you need to relax, don’t be so mad at me. To which he replied, “I am not mad at you, you are just perceiving that I am mad.”
In other words, he was fine and perfect, and any imperfection that I was sensing was coming strictly from my side.

So where is all this leading?

Back to the show about nothing, the nothing in that show actually was so deep, it was a show about everything. It highlighted, mocked and just brought funny awareness to the ridiculousness of real day to day life.
I wonder if today’s kids are the rebirth of that. Are they really woke? Is their awareness and focus of certain social issues that many of us either take for granted or don’t care much about, a clarion call for attention to themselves or are they onto something?

Do they only care about themselves and use extraneous issues to draw more attention to themselves, or are they miners canary to the issues of tomorrow?

Who knows? I think the jury is still out on that but I will be monitoring.
The good news is …

I set out on a journey, to use my pen to express

Ideas and thoughts, to explore not impress

Even when not inspired, and struggling to write something of meaning

We discuss an article about nothing, and conclude blog number seventeen.


A Car Named Green

(A secret window into our life – Ushering a child to adulthood)

Green, Green, Green, you have become a part of the family at this point. If you could talk, oh, the stories you could tell. You have seen and witnessed and heard some of the deepest secrets of our family.

As we near a quarter of a million miles with you, and as we sadly need to slowly part ways, I reflect on some of our wonderful and not so wonderful times together.

When we first met you, it was not love at first site. Your mint (or booger) green was a bit off. But your other features made you worth it. You had all the other things we were looking for. You could keep the kids happy with your entertainment systems, you had leather seats that heated up in the cold weather, frankly, you were ugly on the outside but beautiful on the inside. 

You were a metaphor for the life and the children we were/are raising while owning you.

In the beginning we were so careful with you. Not to hurt you, or break you, but as time went on, you became one of the clan. We beat up on you when we were frustrated, you got dings of your own. The little ones wrote on you even though it was against the rules, in all you had settled comfortably in the family.

All those miles spent together, it really was incredible. By my math, we could have driven back and forth from California close to 80 times. You have witnessed more fights than I am proud of, both the adults and the kids, but you have also seen some of the greatest kindnesses that we have to offer as a family.

You’ve been to more states than most of your friends, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed the ride (pun intended) as much as we have.

I remember that time, that you got stuck – my fault – in the mud/ice/snow near the Topsfeild fair grounds. That kind tow truck guy hooked something up to your underside and pulled you out. I distinctly remember hearing some kind of crack as he was doing that, only later did I realize that he broke you in a deep deep way. We fixed you, but you were never the same. I attribute the much of your struggles, to that time.

I remember when we got stuck in the snow in the mountains in New Hampshire, and had that other suburban push us from the back. That’s how you got that deep dent in the trunk.

Despite our harshness, you were friendly, you started up (most of the times) and gave it all you had.

We drove to Bubby and Zeidy’s house with you so many times, and they got to spend time with you as well. You provided some kind security when we went anywhere with you. You were just ‘ol reliable. You got us there and back, no complaints. 

This doesn’t mean you didn’t talk back ever or misbehave, boy oh boy did you ever, but usually there was a good underlying reason for it. You didn’t run out of gas on your own, we did forget to do that so you sputtered. There was that time that you kept on ruining your tires, that is when we learned what a tie-rod is and that if it is bent, it had ramifications elsewhere on the body.

You seemed to have a knack for driving on nails and screws more than any other one I know, but we dutifully patched you up, and got your road worthy again.

You didn’t comment when we spoke roughly with one another. When we spoke about others. When we discussed our deepest dreams and fears about our children. You just listened, and let us process our thoughts. You’ve seen us laugh harder than anyone else has, and you’ve seen us crying from the deepest pains and panic.

You’ve seen us at our best, and you’ve seen us at our worst. As much as you have seen, there is so much more that lies deep in our hearts, so deep, that we couldn’t express them, even in front of you.

You know better than most the sacrifices we made/make to give our children a Jewish education in Boston. Though it is merely 20 miles or so away, the average commute takes an hour or more.

We have learned so much at your expense, including the traffic patterns. We learned that Sunday mornings, roads are wide open, Sunday evenings, not so much. We learned that if you leave NY after 9:00 and before 11:00, you can be back home in just over 4 hours. We have learned that after a late Red Sox or Celtics game in the post season the ride into Boston would be much faster the morning after.

You witnessed us being good parents at times, and not so great at others. You also have a stake in this journey. You have been a good example and a bad example at times.

You’ve shown the kids good, religious and educational videos when we were focused and dedicated, and stupid mindless, useless ones – usually from a Redbox (those were hot when we got you) – when we were tired and lazy.

You’ve seen us yell at our kids, when we were tired and venting other frustrations, on our unwilling participants, and you’ve seen us do the mature thing and apologize when we owned up and recognized that they hadn’t deserved it.

My my, you’ve seen a lot.

You’ve seen meltdowns over homework loads that were too heavy, and catty fights with friends, and you’ve helped carry more Science Fair and Torah and Math Fair projects than I can count to school.

You’ve driven in rough weather, and all terrains even though you were not made as a 4 x4. We pushed you, hard and on occasion you groaned under the heavy weight we put you under. Like the rest of us, you’ve learned that to be a honest part of our family and real life, you don’t have to love everything that you do, you just have to do it.

You’ve been rewarded (usually after significant neglect – remember when it took us two weeks to find the source of the fruit flies- ) with thorough cleansings, both inside and out. The reward for cleaning you super well, often led to our greatest times with you, in the car wash tunnel, laughing and shouting in excitement and fear at the huge brushes and swirly rags that washed and wiped you. Remember those huge air blowers that blew so hard, that they made air come inside the car as they blew all the residue water off of you? We did have some special times together.

We’ve taken care of you, but like everyone in this family, you may have had to wait a bit longer at times until your needs were fully addressed. And like with the kids, unless it was a life and death situation (brakes and the like) a squeaky sound sometimes got pushed to the corner until there was time to investigate and resolve.

You were always fed (gas and oil changes etc.) but sometimes you didn’t get the flavor, brand or speed you were hoping for.

We get it, we’ve seen it, there are times when you not-only feel, but you are literally are being held together by whatever (color) tape was available at the moment, but you know what, you did and continue to keep it together.

We were good parents to you. Flawed, but good. I can’t say we couldn’t have tried harder, because we could have. I am comfortable saying we tried really really hard. Hard enough.

You’ve seen life. You’ve seen us, regular folks, trying our best to be our best, but in reality just struggling day by day like everyone else make a meaningful life out of the material that Gd gave us.

So, while this particular chapter with you is slowly coming to its end – your replacement has been identified – take the lessons we have taught you with you, wherever the next phase of life brings you. You are an adult now in the eyes of your car religion, it is time for you to cut the cords and become a man on your own, and fend for yourself. We will always be here for you, to reminisce, review stuff we learned together, to laugh and cry about times and experiences gone by, but now you need to chart your own path forward.

Go out there and get ‘em! You got this.


Go back my son, read this article again. Now, this time, every time I write the word car, insert your name there. Know how much you are loved. How much we have invested everything we have in you. Know how much we have tried to prepare you for this time you are in now. Independence isn’t fun, but its so real, it is what makes you a man. We messed up often, but hope we have made up for those lackings and shortcomings.

Blog 16/52 – Picture – My Iphone

Yings and Yangs

Yings and Yangs

Ying and yang, highs and lows, ups and downs, two sides of a coin, you get my point. It seems that everything in life that is good has its counterpart that is quite the opposite.

It seems as if we are not allowed to experience simple and straight ecstasy without there being some kind of pain to mar the perfection. Why if something is going well, is it “too good to be true”? Why can’t good, happiness, joy and fun be the given, and the sadness, pain and suffering be the anomaly?

I understand that Gd in His infinite wisdom created this perfect world, and He likes it just as it is, but if we, the little minions who are along for the ride don’t have the lenses to see the truth behind all Gd’s wisdom then why bother putting us through the wringer?

Do we gain by suffering that cleanses if we don’t see the cleanliness that follows? Is that suffering not in vain?

The past week held many incredible celebratory events for me and my family, birthdays of two of our precious children, an anniversary, AND a great surprise party for my wife, that went off without a hitch. By all estimations, my own included, I am a very, very blessed man.

So, I ask you, why then the need for the “flip side” of the coin? I am not going to turn this into a kvetch piece – much as I think this would make for an interesting column unto itself – but suffice it to say, that there have been many micro-crisis to potentially have ruined the joy of the week.

If it were not for my constant – literally, ongoing – focus not to let the negativity interfere with the good, I could have easily lost all the goodness in the face of the negativity that threatened to invade.

I wonder, if in fact, that is the very point of the yang, the low, the other side of the coin. Perhaps it is a requisite part of good that it be blended with bad, or holiness with evil, or pleasure with pain by some Divine instruction, but perhaps the purpose is not to ruin the ying or the high, rather to accentuate them.

Perhaps the way to make joy truly joyous,the happiness complete, and the gratitude absolute is by relishing it, holding onto it, and most importantly, protecting it from the forces that threaten to drown it.

Meaning to say, as wonderful as a celebration is, it is, indeed, fleeting. I hate that. You bust your chops for many days, weeks, even months to setup and execute a successful event or celebration, then after a couple hours it is all over.

How do you hold on to that joy, that happiness, that ecstasy? Well, nowadays we have pictures, and video, but those only help you relive the surface of the party. The exterior part of the celebration.

How to stay “online” with the experience, how does one live-stream in real time something that has already concluded?

I suggest that this doable as a result of the ubiquitous yang to every ying. The yang that threatens the ying, forces you to dig deep and find the inner ying and push the yang away. While that is painful, and can threaten to ruin the joy, it actually forces you to access the essence of the joy to not fall prey to the pain. It forces the goodness to be reignited and fuel the fight against the pain.

Is there another way? I am sure the big Boss upstairs can find another way. But until I am made aware of what that is, I want to look at life’s yangs as a means to a deeper and more continuous ying.

Blog 15/52


19 Thoughts for 19 Years of Marriage

Today was, כד׳ טבת, and it was our 19th wedding anniversary.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_7857-1024x687.jpg

It is also the nearly the same calendar set up as it was the year we got married. We got married January 2, 2000 (remember Y2K? We made it, thank Gd).

Raizel, I am still thankful you said yes!

As is becoming a tradition…, Here are 19 thoughts on marriage, life and children (they are a work in progress, truths I am working on, but by no means mastered) culled from years as a rabbi and marriage counseling, and 19 years of marriage. Some are new, some are repeats, some are my wisdom, some are stolen… all are good.. In my humble opinion…  Feel free to add some of your own… here we go, in no particular order

  1. “L-I-S-T-E-N” and “S-I-L-E-N-T” are the same letters, think about that.
  2. Chocolate solves many problems.
  3. Children will test your resolve as almost nothing in life will, if you can get through that, you can get through nearly anything together.
  4. Never make a decision when you are tired or angry.
    At the same time, don’t react when your spouse is tired or angry.
  5. The 10 second rule about reacting to something you didn’t like (to see or hear etc.) works better with about 10 minutes in a marriage. Suzy Welch’s idea of 10-10-10 works really well in life, and really well in marriage. Will this matter in 10, minutes, 10 months and 10 years? If not, don’t sweat it now.
  6. Men want solutions, women want to be heard. Don’t give solutions, even if you have really good ones… just hear.
  7. Random acts of kindness to your marriage may be better than birthday/anniversary kindnesses.
  8. (For men only) There is nothing wrong with setting an alert on your calendar to send a sweet comment/text to your spouse 🙂 .
  9. We are all weak at times. Accept that in yourself, and your spouse will accept it in you.
  10. Nothing is more “macho,” “manly,” or attractive than a confident man. Fake it till you make it.
  11. Don’t lie – (you’d think this is obvious, it isn’t) to your spouse, and more importantly to yourself (chew on that for a few minutes, this one is deep).
  12. Technology is ruining lives everywhere and in all circles, try to make sure that you are not holding a device when talking to your spouse. Literally, put it in your pocket when your spouse it talking to you.
  13. Keep the phone out of the bedroom and charge it far away from you.
  14. It is very confident of you to allow/encourage your spouse to go on a short vacation without you. That recharges them in a different way than a vacation with YOU does. BONUS: They will reciprocate.
  15. (My dad once told me) Fights/disagreements in a marriage actually can actually serve to strengthen the marriage. They create pores in the skin of the marriage that allows there to be friction and not have you slide away from one another. Example: Two pieces of smooth glass, even if they they very heavy, will slide right off one another because they are not porous. Two pieces of rubber, even if they light, will not slide off one another. If you can learn a lesson from every disagreement, you will have only gained more closeness.
  16. Shower your wife with praise and compliments when they don’t deserve it. Even more so when they do. They may say that they don’t like it, but they do.
  17. Nisht yeder emes darf men zogen – That was yiddish – In English, not every truth must be said.
  18. R. Samson Rifoel Hirsh (I think) explained a controversial passage in Pirkei Avot thus – You don’t need to share every one of your worries with your spouse. It doesn’t make them respect you more. That’s what friends are for.
  19. If you have a partner that really accepts you as  you are, you are the most blessed person on the planet. Together you can get through anything. You don’t have to be perfect, just perfect for each other!

L’chaim. Happy Anniversary!

Picture taken in our first year of marriage in the Catskills, NY. Photo Credits. Rifka Sarah Chein

Photo – Family Archives

Blog 14/52

Why I Am Getting Separated & Other New Years Resolutions

This is the time of year when people take upon themselves good resolutions to ring in the New Year. It is a good time as the Gregorian calendar resets, people – rightfully – feel that there is fresh slate being offered out there, and now is a good time to take good and positive new steps forward.

Being a veteran exercise buff – not that you could tell 🙂 – and gym rat, I look cynically at the sudden influx of workout buddies I get around this time of year, since I know it won’t last for most of them. I will have my machines back to myself in no time. Keeping our resolutions is a tough thing, so as I offer one of mine forward, I wish all a Happy New Year, filled with good resolutions and that we are still doing them in a few months from now.

Here is a letter I wrote to the object of my disaffection and thus my separation from it.

Dear Cellphone,

I say dear, as you are a close friend. I have you close nearby, in fact I can’t think of anything of my daily attire that is with me more or any routines where you are as ubiquitous. You are usually the first thing I look at in the morning, and that last I look at at night. There is almost no place you are not allowed to go. You go to holiest places in my life, my Shul where I pray, my Rebbe’s resting place where I go to introspect, and then, without skipping beat, you follow me right into the restroom.

You bring out the worst in me and ruin my relationships. I can be talking to people and you ping at me, and suddenly, in the midst of an important conversation with a friend or family member, and you suddenly demand my attention. I could ignore you, in theory, but I can’t. It is just plain rude, yet I violate this basic social etiquette whenever you are around.

Maybe it is the dopamine that you release in me. Scientists are now discovering that despite how powerful you are and how much good you can do, you are equally dangerous. Teenagers, and certainly children whose brains are just starting to develop are not equipped to handle the explosion of chemicals that you release in them every time you ring, ping, whistle or make any other funny or creative sound. Suicide rates are up. ADHD rates are up. Bullying rates are up. Human social interactivity is down. There used to be an obvious price for being nasty in public, now it’s a simple click of a button to hurt with virtually no consequences.

You ruin relationship for adults and don’t allow children and teenagers to ever have a proper one. I read a study, that ⅓ of divorces have “Facebook” mentioned as part of the reasons for the divorce.

I never thought being in my low 40’s I’d be grateful to have entered into a relationship when I did. I actually know what a healthy relationship looks like. The notion that you should get and give love, entertainment, guidance, criticism and more from another human being and not you, a device, is so foreign to today’s youth.

Frighteningly, we the adults are falling in with this. I am suddenly setting a very bad example. I am not practicing what I preach and everyone sees it. My kids are honest and innocent and they tell it to me straight.

Just last night I was bathing my kids, and one child told me, as I checked an all-too-important notification (just a little red dot next to the facebook app icon, no sound or anything, I turned that off a long time ago thinking this would help me look at you less… didn’t work) “who is more important to you, your phone or your child?” Never were more true words spoken by a five-year-old.

It’s hard to blame anyone for not wanting to have this exclusive relationship with the you. It’s the same reason people like pet dogs except much worse. Your pet dog is loyal, loving, non-judgmental, doesn’t berate you when you do wrong, makes you feel good when you’ve messed up basically gives you unconditional love.

You my dear phone are worse even more addictive, you give a false sense of all these above traits of the dog, you don’t even need to be fed (unless plugging you in for a few hours counts) taken for walks, cleaned up after. You give a false sense of my perfection when I should know when I make mistakes. When I should be interacting with others, you do that for me, so I find myself becoming more reclusive.

However, my dear phone it is more than just who you are. It’s even more about who and what you allow into my life. If you really loved me, you’d protect me. You make sure that I only was exposed to to get access to positive (even holy) influences.

In fact, you have not done this job well. You even have allowed other influences into my life that I now cannot do without. I mean that sincerely, that I cannot do without them. Take your buddy Facebook for example. I literally cannot run my business without it. I need it promote things that I do, and more. However, it has so many side effects that it has become unclear where its value ends and where its destruction begins.

I could be having a bad day, and a few blue-thumbs-up’s, (or red hearts on its Instagram cousin,) from a few people and all is better. Not really better, but it feels better, until it doesn’t feel better any more. Yet I keep looking at you, dear phone, again and again and again, waiting, hoping, for what? I don’t even know anymore.

I remember seeing a commercial, I think it was for an ISP provider where you saw a fellow with circles for eyes, sitting in front a computer and it read “You have reached the end of the internet.” I almost wish there was an end, so we could close you off and be done. But, like cigarettes, it appears, that your makers have designed you not for occasional recreational use, but rather that those who use you, become addicted to you and cannot seem to get away from you.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point clear. It is for these reasons, and more that I did not enumerate here, that we are entering a separation phase. We are not getting divorced, at least not now.

I will still deal with you, however there are going to be some major changes in our relationship.
For starters, social media apps are coming off of you, dear cellphone. I will check them in the morning and evening and occasionally mid-day as time allows. When they are checked it will be from a computer not on you. If anyone else out there needs me they can call or text.

Secondly, you are no longer going to be my master. I will decide when to have you next to me, and when to put you down. I am not going to available to all who think that they can you use you, oh cellphone, to call me or text me, or message me, or whatsapp me, or PM me, or DM at any time of day or night.

If the person is not my wife or child, please tell them, they may have to wait a bit until I get back to them. If ppl call me between 5:00pm when my children get home from school, until they are in bed, just take a message on your voicemail.

I can’t have my family competing with you for my attention. It turns out you are usually stronger than my willpower, so rather than fight, I am just putting you down. Hey, look at the upside, you finally get some rest, you may even get a charge while I put you down.

In closing, I hope that this trial separation improves our relationship. I hope it allows us to become better friends going forward with healthy boundaries and we can reconnect (pun intended) in a better and healthier manner, if not, well I don’t want to be negative but this trial separation may have go further.

Happy New Year!

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