Stangl

Welcome to the dog days of summer. Hot and humid days melting into shorter daylight. It always makes me sad when sunset time gets closer to 8 p.m. — then 7 p.m.

So, are you taking advantage of the final days of freedom from the regular routines of school?

I saw some kids out playing and pondered how strange this summer has been for them all. With the lock down this spring effectively ending school a month early (two if you count the lockdown itself), it should have been a real barn burner of a summer.

But, like many other things this year, the coronavirus spoiled summer vacation.

The coronavirus has provided additional time with our families, a mixed blessing or curse, depending on how you get along with your family members. Some have grown closer, some have torn into renovation projects, others have rediscovered cooking and many have watched about anything and everything they can on television. (Binge tip: check out “Patriot” on Amazon Prime. 18 hours of wonderful dark humor.)

Some are gaining weight, others are trying to lose weight. After receiving a cardiac diagnosis in 2018, I was told to walk more and lose some weight as well as monitor my heart. There are many devices on the market now that can help you do these tasks and store the information on your smart phone.

I chose to get an Apple Watch. I’m a self-confessed snob when it comes to products made by Apple, I’ve loved them since 1984 when I first used a Macintosh computer. I believe they are designed to be easy to use and understand — or as easy to use and understand as any of these things can be.

The watch is “wearable” technology, meaning it’s a little computer and smart phone that you wear as a watch. It communicates with my iPhone, storing all sorts of health information about me, ranging from my sleeping habits, to the number of steps I take and how many times I get up and move during the day. I can even go “Dick Tracy” and take a call on my watch.

It’s the type of thing many of us dreamed about when we were kids. But, like many things we thought would be cool when we were children, as adults it isn’t nearly as cool as we imagined.

Sure, I can take and record an electrocardiogram (EKG) on my watch. I can set a timer so I know when to flip the burgers on the grill at home. I can even read emails and text messages on the tiny 44mm screen.

But there’s a darker side to “smart” wearables — the judgement.

In order to keep you on track to your goal of standing or moving, the watch will periodically tap you on the wrist to alert you to get up and stand or tell you if you are doing well or slacking. When it gets to be after supper, I get some “encouragement” to “go for a brisk walk” to meet my exercise and move goals.

“Totally worth it,” my watch tells me.

Some days, I beg to differ.

I understand and appreciate what the technology is trying to nudge me to do, but a nag is a nag, even if it is a bright and shiny one.

Gotta go, time to stand up again…

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.