Life of Hardin in Paraguay

Laugh as you travel through life with Josh Hardin.

Location: Spring Hill, TN, United States

Josh Hardin began writing in high school and published his first novel when he was twenty-two. He won an EPPIE award for his mystery novel "The Pride of Peacock." His non-fiction work includes "The Prayer of Faith", a book aimed at making personal prayers both powerful and effective. He has traveled widely and taught a summer philosophy course at the International University in Vienna. Hardin grew up in Tennessee and moved to Paraguay in 2006. He moved back to Tennessee in 2008.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Life of Hardin Vol. IV, No. 24

The Truth of Inconvenience

Ten years ago cell phones were a fad. They were big and expensive. People carried them as a sign of prestige. Now we can’t do without them. We can find anyone, anywhere, anytime. Convenient.

Fifteen years ago microwaves were a luxury. If you could afford one, you could cook supper in 15 minutes. You could re-heat leftovers in 10. You could make popcorn in 5 without a fireplace. Convenient.

Twenty years ago VCR’s beat out Beta machines. Beta was inconvenient. They couldn’t record. A VCR could record any television show. You didn’t have to be in a certain spot at a certain time. You were free of network schedules. You could watch what you wanted, when you wanted. Convenient.

We are a people trained to convenience. We make things that we don’t have to monitor, that can do the job faster, that can do it now, the moment we decide, because later we’ve got something else to do. We make things that will let us do what we want, when we want. Then we make things that let us do all those things faster to free us up even more. We make conveniences more convenient. We trump a VCR with TiVo. We trump a cell phone with an iPhone. We trump Blockbuster with On-Demand movies. We trump On-Demand movies with the VUDU set-top digital movie box that puts over 5,000 movies at your fingertips. We’ve even trumped the convenience store with Wal-Mart.

What inconvenience will be cured next? Eating? Sleeping? Going to the bathroom? Birthing babies? Paraguay’s already solved that one. Everyone schedules C sections. The maternity ward is packed full every Saturday morning with happy moms, dads, and doctors who didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night, and squalling babies who came out too soon. Then they feed the kid, pierce its ears if it’s a girl, and stick it in an incubator until puberty. You don’t get more convenient than that.

But we’ve made things too convenient. We can no longer use inconvenience as an excuse. For example. Then, in the age of inconvenience: “Could you take out the trash?” “Later. I’m watching the game.” Now: “Pause it with TiVo and take out the trash.”

Then: “What do you want to watch?” “It’s raining, so the antenna is only picking up CBS. I guess we’ll watch I Love Lucy.” Now: “We’ve got over 5,000 movies to choose from. Which one do you want?” “I don’t know. Which one do you want?” “I don’t know. You pick.” “I can’t decide. Just get what you want.” “I don’t know what I want. What do you want?” Ad nauseum.

The worst. The phone rings. “I’m sorry. He’s indisposed at the moment.” Now: “Sure. I’ll hand him the cordless.”

The problem is, we’ve convenienced ourselves right out of convenience. We’ve gone too far, hit the wall, turned around, and gotten right back into inconvenience again. Why do I want to eat re-warmed, soggy pizza? Why do I want to read the summaries of 5,000 B-movies when I could just watch “Star Wars” again? Why do I want to be found on a cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if I’m at the movies or reading in the “library”? The answer is I don’t. Yet I spend my time keeping up with these conveniences, and I no longer have an excuse to just sit and do nothing. Everything is so convenient that I can get up and do it right now. We’ve eliminated inconvenience. And that’s what I call inconvenient.


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