Whack A Mole

Chucky Cheese pizza and a million other arcades in the 1980’s played host to the best game ever, ‘WHACK A MOLE’! I loved taking my mallet at slamming each popping mole back into its hole. I was a mole ninja. While other kids were playing ski ball for tickets, you could find me hovering over the ‘holy grail’ of games. I was a ten year old Chuck Norris wearing a pink party dress and jelly shoes whilst screaming “Die Mole Die”!
Of course, as time went on, I lost my love for the mole and its hole. It was replaced with a life above ground. Life of the 1990’s and all of its glory. I was going to the mall with friends. Laughing and crying with real people. Real life. What I didn’t realize was that I had trained my brain to be on high alert for things that pop up in my life. Since, I have always been on ninja alert for what pops up and must be slammed down. 
In 2011 I got my first smart phone and have been properly addicted ever since. You see, this new device has brought back my childhood love. Not fuzzy little moles in need of a WHACK, but tiny red dots. 
We all know of this plague of red dots. Each day they pop up on the fields of our phones. Dots taunting us. Dots that poke and prod at us. Dots that, in some way, tell us how much the world is thinking about us. Dots that remind us what we are missing out on. Dots that connect us to others. Dots. 
Of course these dots of death are the notifications we get ever moment of every day. That tiny red dot on the Facebook tile screaming “someone likes you”. The dot on the email tile scowling “why haven’t you done this work”. Each time they pop up I have an overwhelming need to instantly WHACK it. I open each message, email, notification, and posting as if it were a life or death code from the mother ship. I am a programmed. This is where my addition lies.  
I was even more distracted when I started playing an online app game. Not only did I get little red dots, but I also had messages from all over the world. My urge to respond to each new coin prize and alliance notification only grew in strength. It was almost too much to handle. I was responding as fast as I could. Many who know me, know I text faster than a teenage girl, and send rapid fire messages like some gangster with a tommy gun. I learned this from my overwhelming need to WHACK these lil red dots away. Clearing my screen. 
The dots sound as if they are unwanted rodents that only carry darkness. ROUS’s: rodents of unusual size. However, the opposite is true. Each red dot contains messages from friends and family. Important emails containing good news. Pictures of adventures and smiles from around the world. Messages from friends with whom I want to talk to, for hours. These tiny red dots are actually a desire. In some ways I think a bit of self-worth comes from them. The more red dots equals the number of moments someone else thinks of us. 
It is a life game of WHACK A MOLE, and it consumes me. In fact, just in the time I have written this blog, I have stopped 13 times to WHACK a red dot away. I have smiled at a text from a friend. I have deleted four junk emails. I am drunk on the need and the burden of these dots. I wonder who has been reading this blog and has smiled because they stopped three times to WHACK their own red rodent dots. 
What stops the dots? Do I really want them to stop? Is this new field of ‘life moles’ just part of my life now?
I don’t know. 
What I do know is that I need to chill on my desire to check every notification the moment it pops up. I do know that my self worth is not found in the number or frequency of the dots. I do know that those messages will still be there later. 
So this week I challenge myself. You are welcome to join me. I challenge myself to leave my phone alone. Leave it at home while at work. Leave it when I go for a walk. I challenge myself to set aside limited time to play ‘WHACK A MOLE’ and then stop. I challenge myself to call those I love, telling them of their actual worth to me. Invite those new friends over rather than texting for hours. I challenge myself to live more and more away from my device. I challenge myself to actually LIVE this adventure we call life. 
For a moment…..imagine life without the ball and chain burden of our devices. 

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