The erasable pen was a wonder invention of Papermate. In the bygone days of 1979, one could suddenly do the impossible, erase the un-erasable: Ink. From a pen. It was truly, truly, truly outrageous.
But this amazing feat came with a price. Sure, there was the obvious blue, black, or red smudge where you had erased a word or the smear where you had accidentally run your hand over some of the not-quite-dry-yet ink (oh, just wait until Gel pens you innocent children of the 70s). No, this was a far more insidious evil that exacted its toll on your very being: Imprecision.
Now I'm not talking about how neatly you wrote or whether you stayed between the college lines of your Trapper Keeper's notebook paper. Oh no, I'm talking about mistakes. With a pen that you could erase, there was no longer any need to pay attention to what you were writing. You could make spelling errors with impunity and then just brush them away without a care and without having to use that unprofessional pencil.
Of course, the more you used your Erasermate, the worse your spelling became. And you didn't care. At least not until you were forced to resort to barbarian methods and use a regular pen for any reason. Only then was the folly of your hubris fully realized as you struggled to spell "dog" without screwing it up.
Now, there have been many similar evils since that time. Spell-check comes to mind and is the reason that wordvomit like "she could of tried harder" and "my interest is peaked" exist in myriad internet chat rooms and text messages today. (I'm sorry, we were looking for could've and piqued. Thank you for playing.) Be that as it may, I believe the erasable pen has finally met its equal:
You see, this new evil - this succubus of sanity - by its very nature of allowing you to rewind LIVE television is eroding what little attention span we had left after watching too many reruns of Remote Control and Robot Chicken. You see, it used to be that if you missed it; too bad it was gone and if the show wasn't going to be on again until summer reruns then you just had to wait. Sure, there was the VCR, but why tape it when you're already watching it and even then you can't watch what recorded on the VHS tape without stopping the recording.
But now with TiVo, you don't have to worry. Heck you don't even have to pay attention. What was that? Go back and watch it again right now. The rest of the show? Don't worry, it's still there, you can catch up to it during the commercials. Damn. Now isn't that cool. No. Not when the ultimate price is so high.
Forget the inability to spell, TiVo promises the inability to listen. And for those of us with ADD this is some bad juju. I find myself wishing that my radio had a TiVo functionality. I sit there waiting for the traffic report and just space off and only realize I'm spacing once the monotone traffic guy on the radio is wrapping things up and I've completely missed the report. Got to wait another 10 minutes now. Damn. Where will this lead? The inability to listen to regular conversations? Your friends & family? Your boss? Your spouse? I shudder to think of the possibilities.
Ooh, My TiVo just found Breaking the Magician's Code 4. Sweet!