In 1972, the British progressive rock group Argent released a single called “Hold Your Head Up.” If you look up the lyrics, that line is basically the entire song, repeated over and over. (For trivia buffs, Argent was founded by Rod Argent, who was with The Zombies before that.) I thought of this song not because I was having a moment of nostalgia for the 1970s, but because I just read an article from The Atlantic titled “What Texting Does to the Spine.”
Please, Don’t Text and…Well, Anything
Author Olga Khazan begins her piece this way: “Sixty pounds is roughly the weight of four adult-sized bowling balls.” She then explains how that weight is roughly what you exert on your neck when you tilt your head down to read and text on your smartphone. According to Nielsen, she says, Americans spend about an hour a day staring down at their phones. The stress this creates, cautions a physician she quotes, “may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possible surgeries.”
Khazan also comments that doctors have been complaining about cases of “text neck” for years. But, as she wryly observes, “it’s certainly eyebrow-raising to learn that looking at Twitter in the supermarket checkout line is the equivalent of giving an aardvark a piggy-back ride.”
The only way to relieve this stress is to hold your head up. This means we will have to change our habits, holding our phones high as well, straight out in front of us. This would probably reduce the incidence of walking into walls or telephone poles while texting but it also means we would be more likely to step unwittingly into open utility access portals (formerly known as manholes), thus disappearing instantly from the face of the earth. What’s more, texters would suddenly all become adjunct members of the Ministry of Silly Walks. That would be a good thing, mind you, since the more amusements we have in life, the happier we become. Of course it also means those who attempt to text and walk at the same time (something I never do since walking on its own is enough of a challenge for me) would have to wear the same headgear as John Cleese did in the Monty Python sketch. But, hey, better a bowler than four bowling balls or an aardvark any day, I say.
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