Total candycrush

  • IANS

    IANS | New Delhi

    June 9, 2017 | 02:33 PM

(Representational image (Getty Images)

The train was so tightly packed that when I checked my current account balance on my phone, four people breathed in sharply and gave me sympathetic looks.

But then the girl left of me started playing Candy Crush and everyone's attention shifted to her.

With people and cameras everywhere, there's no privacy any more. If you need to adjust your underpants or unpick a wedgie you have to book a hotel room.

"I'd like to book a twin-bed no-smoking room for 30 seconds, please."

"Certainly sir. For a security deposit, we will require your credit card, house deeds and firstborn child."

But stories of technology and humanity can create warm and fuzzy feelings, I learned from two recent news reports.

At the end of May, a jam-packed train on the way to a college in New York got stuck. Everyone was in a bad mood. One of the passengers was student Jerich Alcantara, dressed in university robes to receive his diploma. "I would like to thank you all for coming to my graduation," he joked. "It means a lot to me."

The carriage full of strangers laughed, someone found celebratory music to play, a diploma was zapped to his phone, and suddenly it was a party. Someone filmed it for the Internet, of course, and the result was that his graduation was witnessed by millions of people.

Then came a news report on tech-savvy accountant David Goodwin, who used geek know-how to get away with the perfect crime 100 times in a row.

He turned up at a busy, charity-minded church in Northern Ireland with his laptop and offered to check the accounts. Since the members donating cash and the needy spending it were highly trusting, he found it easy to transfer big chunks of money to his own accounts.
After two years stealing charity donations from the church, he'd committed his 100th crime and felt unstoppable.

But then the church had a guest speaker: A reformed criminal.

Everything the man said hit Goodwin like a thunderbolt from heaven.
Deeply moved, Goodwin spent the next few hours creating spreadsheets showing exactly how he had committed each of his 100 crimes, and then walked to the local police station, where he opened his laptop and said: "Look what I've done."

That story also produced a warm, fuzzy feeling -- which evaporated when I saw the next news report in my inbox.

Researchers say the amount of invisible, intangible money being spent every day (clicking to buy stuff) had overtaken the amount of actual physical money being spent every day. Coins and banknotes will disappear, pundits say.

This is bad.

My main tool for impressing on my children the value of money is the extreeeeeemely slooooooow way I count out their pocket money every week, an expression of agony on my face. Sometimes I actually weep blood.

A quick click on a screen to transfer cash is not the same. It fails to convey the pain that needs to be associated with money moving away from Dad's pocket in any direction.

I'm going to do all my financial stuff on the train from now on. At least I get a bit of sympathy there.