By Don Jackson, January 2013
Former host of one of Canada's most popular radio shows spanning three decades.
Author, broadcaster, storyteller.
Bert E. McCormick as quoted in the December 2000 issue of Reader's Digest magazine said:
Once a man would spend a week patiently waiting if he missed a stagecoach; now he rages if he misses the first section of a revolving door.
I've been thinking a lot about time. Most of us do as the infant year begins. We look back at the passing year and the realization hits that time is moving at an ever-increasing speed. With that realization comes the fact that we are all along for the ride. There really doesn't seem to be a stop where we can get off to catch our breath.
Some of us are content to let the river of time move us at whatever pace it sees fit. They are the ones who embrace a fast-paced world, revel at the ever-changing speed of technology and do sometimes rage at missing the first section of the revolving door. There is too much to do and so little time to do it in. They are reminded of the swiftness of time by the large digital clock on their cell phones and adjust their tempo accordingly.
And then there is the other half of the population that tries desperately to slow the passage of time. Even if it is impossible to dam the river, they strive to enjoy its eddies close to shore by trying to squeeze out every moment they can before the flow continues on.
I was a fan of the Art Bell syndicated all night talk show, 'Coast To Coast'. It was a show that dealt with the possibility of UFOs and conspiracy theories. But, he often talked about something he referred to as the 'Quickening'. It was not the same idea that was mentioned in the movie 'Highlander' about an immortal Scottish warrior from the 16th century that starred Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. I got the sense that Art Bella's idea was about the sensation we sometimes feel that time is speeding up. There were many examples in his radio program as well as his book on the subject. I'm sure if you stop to think about all the inventions and technologies that have been developed in such a short span.
At the beginning of the last century, man tentatively tried his wings and flew a rudimentary flying machine a few feet above the ground. Not fifty years later, he was landing on the moon. If I hold up a musical birthday card, it features more computing power than existed at the time of WWII. The computer on board the moon lander is laughable compared to what exists today. We scratch our head in wonder at how such a feat was possible with such archaic tools. Look at how far and how fast cell phone technology has advanced. Originally, it was a bulky unit in one's car. Now it is a hand-held device that can stream movies and live TV. It is a device that has GPS capabilities and the ability to change the way we connect with others. No longer is it just a portable telephone; it introduced us to the idea of 'texting'. The original cell phone was only for a busy salesperson in the car. Now, most people in the western world can afford one of these devices. We even give them to our children. It was never intended to be a toy, but it is now a game platform.
The number of innovations our generation has witnessed is mind-boggling. And we have only scratched the surface. Imagine what the next fifty years will be like.
At the beginning of every new year, we look back to see how far we've come and we discover we have been moving at almost breakneck speed, swept up and carried along with the flow as when we walk on a crowded sidewalk. It's important that we don't find ourselves swept away and unable to break free. We must listen to our inner voices and step outside the mad rush. The old adage of watching the world go by has never been as important as it is right now. My radio show was that opportunity to escape the pressure society places on our shoulders. It was the big comfy chair that comforted you and allowed you a few private moments to put your day into perspective. That's why I am preparing to launch its sequel from the Heart of the Internet. No matter where you are, what device you are using to access my website, my new show will only be one 'click' away always ready to help you escape the 'Madding Crowd'.