Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for September 30th……

--Tonight will be a grand night in our city as we gather at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center to honor the Grand Marshal of the Autumnfest Parade at the Grand Marshal’s Reception. This one will be different, because for the first time in Autumnfest history our honoree will not be present. The late George Nasuti will be represented by his widow, Carol, who will receive the accolades of hundreds of the Blackstone Valley’s citizens on his behalf.

Carol will also ride in Georges’ place in the Autumnfest parade on Monday October 13th in a specially selected automobile which will symbolize a lot of what George held dear to his heart. Look for it right at the beginning of the parade.

--It certainly didn’t feel like autumn this past weekend in our city. Record high temperatures were flirted with all across our area. But today is the last day of September, the month with the dual personalities of offering the last big holiday of the summer season and also the launch of the fall. Along with tonight’s Autumnfest Grand Marshal reception, we are now focusing on the Autumnfest itself and a new event slated to happen on the Thursday before the festival begins, Thursday October 9th. By that time the beer tent will be set up on the grounds of World War Two Veterans’ Memorial Park and the Autumnfest Steering Committee will roast two of Woonsocket’s leading citizens, Woonsocket Police Chief Tom Carey and Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw. This should be a good one. Tickets are only $20 each, include a nice meal served by former Autumnfest Grand Marshal Chef Gary McLaughlin, and are available at the offices of both Woonsocket radio stations or at the, uh, “door”, as they say. Although the tent really kinda has flaps and not doors, you get the idea.

The event starts at 6pm and they promise it will end at 9pm. And one more thing, because it’s in the beer tent, you must be at least 21 years old to get in. The chiefs will be watching………….

--In other “news”, the weekly ‘Poll of the Obvious’ is in. This time from Zogby Analytics, who announces that they asked over a thousand people between the ages of 18 and 34 about how they use their so-call ‘smartphones’. Now, I’ve always thought that ‘smartphones’ were not named accurately, but setting that argument aside for another day, the poll I am quoting here reports that nearly 90 percent of those asked told Zogby their ‘smartphone’ never leaves their side. 80 of them admitted that the first thing they do every morning is to reach for it (probably because most use it as an alarm clock). These so-called “Millennials” claim to spend over two hours each day looking at their ‘smartphone’ screens and 60 percent of them predict that everything you do each day will require your ‘smartphone’ five years from now.

That’s quite a prediction. I personally don’t see how a ‘smartphone’ will help you hug your kids or go to the bathroom, but I’m a bit old-fashioned, I suppose. Heck, I didn’t even own such a device until last year. Up until then I really did think that ‘smartphones’ were smart. That is, until I owned one and discovered that it is slow, clunky, and you need to tell it not only what to do, but how to do it if you want it to do anything more than to annoy you by predicting what word you will type next or what place you will drive to next and then it will fight with you about it if you wanted something different than the prediction it offered. I don’t consider that smart. I consider it impertinent. But I consider impertinence to be a youthful trait and the probable reason so many youth are not annoyed by it.

The other thing that concerns me so much about these announced trends is that they are polling people who have yet to discover that being an individual based upon some devices predictions won’t hold up over time. I say that because this group of people seems to think nothing of declaring they are “an individual” because their ‘smartphone’ is decorated with a different one of the available 8 colors than all their friends have. To me, this does not foster individuality, but it seems to work for them. And they seem to also just give up and write what the ‘smartphone’ suggests to them instead of imposing their will upon the misguided inanimate object.

Well I suppose they will learn eventually what being an individual really means. And when they do, they will probably work to make ‘smartphones’ really smart instead of what they are now. I do hope so.

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to dave@onworldwide.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.


This blog changes each Monday evening.
The column runs in the Editorial section of The Call each Tuesday.
Click here to return to our home page.