I went to a local coffee shop recently and was sitting quietly at my table and watched a boy, perhaps 7 or 8 years old, playing at a table. A young woman, perhaps in her early 20s, was sitting by his side.

The boy was talkative and made me smile, watching his innocence. Several times, he tried to get his caretaker’s attention, and I suppose he sometimes got on her nerves, as she leaned over and softly spoke to him.

I watched as this boy valiantly tried making his caretaker the most important person in his life. Unfortunately, he had no idea that he was playing a game he simply would not win.

You see, the young woman next to him had a cellphone in her hand. She already had decided who would be her most important person that morning and it was not the boy.

I see college football players with girlfriends who never existed.

I see Beyonce singing the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, only to find out later she was just lip-syncing.

I see singers on Saturday Night Live who have done the same thing.

I see millions of people making electronic fantasy their reality, and turning what is real around them into fantasy.

It is troubling to watch these self-destructive devices being used by people who have lost the ability to make common-sense choices about things that surround them every day.

That boy at the coffee shop will more than likely grow up and never understand what could have been. He will only know what is, and that makes me sad.

Mark Pantermoller, Fairfield

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