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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Whenever I see a science fiction movie, the extra-terrestrials are always portrayed as having big heads with little bodies which has been the case at least since H.G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds in 1898. I don’t know where he got that idea other than from the fact that it makes them look other-worldly, although he could have given them huge feet or other less-visible attributes, but as our technology advances it seems his vision of an advanced civilization with bulbous craniums is getting likelier with every passing day.
What makes me believe this are the ubiquitous cell phones that get more functional and complex with the release of each new model. They can do so many things that you have to be a cyber-genius to use them unless of course you’re under the age of 40 when they automatically become simple, and the younger a person is the easier these mysterious wonders are to use for some unknown reason. What kid nowadays doesn’t have one of those marvels to talk, text, Tweet, Twitter, play games, take photographs, or look up information on the Internet by simply touching one of those little pictures on the screen while using only two thumbs… amazing. I barely know how to turn my bare-bones cell phone on yet little children spend hours doing all kinds of wondrous things with their fancy models.
Recently I saw an advertisement to add new “Apps” to the phones (Apps being the name for those little pictures I mentioned above), and what shocked me was that they were intended for toddlers aged 1 to 4, designed to teach the alphabet, how to count, how to mix colors, all while using interactive puzzles. Can you imagine that, they expect babies who can’t read to be able to navigate around these marvels that I can barely use to call someone in an emergency.
The result of all this is that we are cultivating generations of people who make use of only their brains, eyes, and thumbs while allowing the rest of their bodies to atrophy. What do they need legs for since all they do from sunup to sundown is sit and play with those hand-held contrivances? That’s why I’m convinced that H.G. Wells’ depiction of alien creatures was correct, the only difference being that he never mentioned the humongous thumbs that advanced civilizations will ultimately develop from being constantly exercised.
Perhaps Douglas Adams could also see into the future and knew what he was talking about when he wrote “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” for hitchhiking would be yet another activity that would benefit from having highly enlarged thumbs.