JIMMY BURT ’16
It’s a gorgeous day. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the sundresses are out in full force. You’re about to walk by a friend, or maybe a cute girl, looking for a handshake or maybe you’ll toss in a playful line hoping to make her laugh. Little do you know, you’re about to get the 21st century version of the stiff arm: head down and eyes buried in his or her phone, completely oblivious to the world. You wonder what could be so important or urgent for a 20-year old to be staring into a screen on a beautiful spring day. Oh, but of course, the reasons are vast and justified. Maybe somebody “liked” their Instagram photo, or maybe a friend fired off a funny Snapchat, or maybe the person was simply texting their mom or dad.
Regardless of the reasons for “head-down syndrome,” the name I’ve given this problem, it is fairly embarrassing, annoying and somewhat insulting. Sometimes I imagine a person with severe “head-down syndrome” in an NHL game getting absolutely demolished by the likes of Niklas Kronwall or a Scott Stevens reincarnation. Now, that would surely keep a person’s phone in their pocket for the duration of their five-minute walk to class. Unfortunately, this is not how the world works, but there is a simple solution to this epidemic. The solution consists of no bone-shattering hits, physical pain, or mental anguish. Instead, it’s as simple as taking ten seconds to think about what you’re doing. You’re a human at Trinity College, not iPhone University for the Antisocial. Communicate with your fellow Bantams, even if it’s just looking at people you don’t know. Learn how to approach people and learn how to be approached by others. You’re not going to figure out much about life, nor will you learn much about yourself if you live with your head immersed in a phone.
On a daily basis, the only time I feel disappointed is when I see twenty people with their heads down on the Lower Long Walk heading off to class. I even get mad at myself when I find my hand subconsciously reaching for my phone while walking around campus. Usually, I call myself a joke and immediately stick that piece of garbage right back into my pocket. See, I am no exception to this problem, although I’d wager that I’d catch you with your head down before you can spot me zeroed in on my phone.
Throughout human evolution, we as a species have gradually distanced ourselves further and further from each other and from our initial purposes. Hunting and gathering has been traded in for a Sunday at Stop & Shop, walking has turned into driving, and communication has gone from person-to-person to keypad-to-keypad. Although I harbor no ill feelings towards people who suffer from “head-down syndrome”, I genuinely hope those reading this will think about this subject matter and encourage a few more people to pick up their heads. Live life with the people you are surrounded by at any given moment, and if you’re quietly walking by yourself, try thinking just for the sake of thinking instead of hiding from others with your head down. Pick up your heads, jokes.