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Get unplugged for one day 

If high-tech gadgetry is supposed to save us time and make our lives so much easier, why do so many people seem to be always plugged into something electronic and always working?

They've got their laptops with them on vacations, they yack on their cell phones in restaurants, they have PCs at home so they're never away from the office, and they fax documents while they drive.

It seems to be quite the opposite of pursuit of happiness.

This is why I'm joining in the call for a new American holiday to be called National Low-Tech Day. Turn everything off, take a deep breath and slow waaaay down.

Instead of e-mailing notes to your co-workers, take a short stroll down the hallway and visit with them in person, or take a long lunch with a friend, being sure to leave both of your cell phones behind.

National Low-Tech Day is the brainchild of Bill Husted. He's a technology writer for the Atlanta Journal, so he's no Luddite. Indeed, Husted says, "I have more electronic and computer gear in my home than the average Navy destroyer." But, he says, "with all this computing power and gadgetry, I have no time at all."

Husted also points out that today's high-tech office is not our friend. At his newspaper, he says, "We use a telephone system so complicated that everyone here had to take a training class. ... I've seen grown men get quivery at the notion of trying to use our copying machine. ... And `when` our new high-tech elevators went online ... the day after they went into service, I was trapped in one for an hour and a half."

With his Low-Tech Day proposal, Husted says, "I'm not advocating a return to the Dark Ages, but just a day where we stop and think about how technology often uses us, instead of us it."

Break your electronic chains for a day, and come out and play.

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More by Jim Hightower


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