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This past Wednesday, I met a friend for dinner. It had been a long day in the middle of a busy week. I was hot and tired, and ready to unplug. As I waited on the patio, a cool breeze carried the sound of live music my way and a fiery sunset swept the horizon. All was well with my soul.

Ordinarily, you would have found me around the corner at a favorite little spot on a quiet side street, but a half-price Happy Hour lured me to Main Street instead, and I was delighted by the classic scene of a summer night. The whole town seemed to be out and about. Couples. Families. Strollers. Kids in bathing suits after a day at the nearby water park. Boys on bikes and boards. The city park, brimming with activity.

I was witnessing our love affair with summer. Remembering endless days and nights of July and August. Smiling at what it still takes to pack up the whole family for a day at the pool. Wincing at parental scowls over the short shorts of yesterday, as I caught myself reacting to the not-all-that-different styles of today parading past. Some things never change….

One thing, however, was noticeably different…and so far removed from my nostalgic recollections that I could never have imagined the pervasiveness of the digital devices to come. Hardly a person passed without a mobile phone in front of their face. Literally. It was shocking. Disturbing, actually. Like a horror movie…as the scene morphed into something out of “The Walking Dead.”

It was so pronounced, in fact, that by the time my friend arrived, I could hardly carry on a conversation. My eyes were glued to the horror. “Walkers” with cell phones everywhere I looked. It was awful! Young and old alike sucked into the tiny screens attached to their hands.

In searching for a photo to use with this Journal post {maybe a sea of cell phones or a zombie or something}, I ran across a photo blog post many of you have seen, I’m sure. It shows the “Last Words” of five loved ones – a mom, a dad, a husband, a grandson, a daughter – displayed on the cell phone screens of the recipients. It’s the photos of the two who lost their parents that grip me most. Texting while driving isn’t just about teenagers, folks. Neither is it the only issue created by near addictive levels of mobile device usage.

I wish I could say I’m relieved by the news flash that helps explain what I saw Wednesday night, but the truth is…it only proves my point. A new mobile app was released last week…and downloaded more than 15 million times. That’s how a nostalgic childhood game, loved by an entire generation of millennials, suddenly becomes the most popular mobile app of all time. Historic, they’re calling it…with an astounding 21 million daily active users already…in the U.S. alone.

No wonder I couldn’t pry my eyes from the on Main Street users of my little town. History was being played out right in front of me. A phenomenon of huge proportion to gamers everywhere. Some say they’re actually walking more than they have in years as a result of the game. {Walkers, I presume.} Others are thrilled to realize a connection with strangers they pass on the street…all playing the same game.

That leaves me speechless…and deeply disturbed. So, if you’ll excuse me…I think I need to get outside this screen right now, and see what’s happening out there on this beautiful summer evening.

Please promise me you’ll do the same.