Rochester, Minn. – In an act unprecedented in Western civilization since the late-twentieth century, an area man will relinquish his electronic devices for an entire month. Kirk Klocke, a local writer, told reporters he wants to see firsthand how his ancestors survived without G-chatting at 1 a.m. from bed, constantly comparing their lives and achievements to those of their Facebook friends, and live-Tweeting with laptops and dogs in their laps while watching Netflix.
“At first, this seemed like an impossible experiment,” Mr. Klocke said. “But I did some research, and discovered that our ancestors sent each other notes written on paper, and called each other with telephones connected to wires buried in the ground. It’s really fascinating.”
Artifacts Mr. Klocke discovered on a recent trip to a mail museum called a “Post Office.” (clockwise) Addresses, stamps, pen, paper, envelopes – supplies our ancestors used to use to communicate over long distances.
Earlier this month, Mr. Klocke went to a local museum called a Post Office, where he saw little square pieces of currency humans used to apply to handwritten letters called stamps. Stamps were a symbol to the letter carriers that the sender had paid proper fare for their letter’s safe passage.
He also spoke with historian Miguel Kramer, who specializes in prehistoric electronic communication. “Unlimited long distance was unheard of in the twentieth century,” Dr. Kramer said. “Telephone companies kept track of how many minutes you spent calling out of town relatives, then sent you a paper bill for the service via the mail. It’s astonishing if you think about it.”
Mr. Klocke tried to conceive of how humans existed without unlimited long distance. He told reporters that Dr. Kramer gave him an antique calling card, which contained a pin number that allowed callers to place calls from public phones – a phenomenon that was popular in the late 1970’s. “I think this card might still have minutes on it,” Mr. Klocke said. “I might even try to call someone while I’m on my retreat to the middle of nowhere.”
Health experts are wary of people trying to quit their electronic devices cold turkey. “Blackberry withdrawal symptoms can include reconnecting with real people in real life, and occasional hallucinations. Patients have reported seeing that god damn red light blinking at them out of the corner of their eye,” said Dr. Marty Hayworthe, an electroaddictionologist at the National Institutes of Health. “Mr. Klocke is old enough to vaguely remember payphones and stationary stores, so his brain should adapt more quickly to the sudden loss of wifi than, say, a 23-year-old.”
Mr. Klocke, seen Tuesday listening to Pandora.
Klocke said he’s going to write about the experience on his blog, www.thoughtfrontier.org. He can accept mail until March 20th at the following address (a series of words and numbers that symbolize a place where an actual human being lives in real life):
P.O. Box 159
Canton, SD 57013
p.s. He might cheat and call into his voicemail periodically during the experiment, just in case anyone who’s not a bill collector decides to leave him a message.