Jeff Fox: Wasted time and other deadly sins

The Examiner

So far, common wisdom has it, 2020 has rolled out a new wave of fear, loathing and torment every few weeks: murder hornets, COVID, politicians baying at the moon.

There was a glimmer of hope – or was it merely taunting? – the other day when a new James Bond movie trailer popped up, with the promise of an opening night in November. That's assuming going to a theater even remotely seems like a good idea two months from now. 

Jeff Fox

It does seem that a Bond-level supervillain must be behind much of the madness we've been seeing, as the latest phase of the Operation Annoy America has been launched.

We've gotten used to working at home – a phenomenon that can go away soon as far as I'm concerned – and we've achieved some reasonable level of efficiency. Well, we can’t be having that, can we?

MLB.com has rolled out what could be mother of all rabbit holes, at least for certain segments of the population.

You know what I mean. The internet is already nothing but an endless rabbit hole if you do it right. Who was in that one movie? Right. And what else was she in? Oh, and she directs? Tell me more. Click, click, yada, yada, and suddenly it's way past bedtime.

Pinterest once asked me what I liked, and I said camping, cooking and the deep northwoods. The algorithm ground on that for a nanosecond and spit me out as a survivalist, generating more rabbit holes. Now I get a lot of sketchy email, too.

Now MLB.com has introduced “film room.” Sounds innocuous, but beware all ye who enter. It has millions of baseball videos going back decades. You can customize just about any sequence, any oddball collection that you want.

Yes, I clicked. There was a four-minute video just on unassisted triple plays. Who knew? It was intoxicating.

I actually saw an unassisted triple play once. Inasmuch as this was Little League, it involved one heady, athletic 9-year-old and a bunch of confused, flat-footed 9-year-olds standing around waiting to be tagged out.

The Major League version is more refined. It's a line drive to a middle infielder who snags the ball, steps on second and tags the runner who is now running into him. It is a thing of beauty.

I had to turn away. I'd love to watch all 660 Willie Mays home runs, or relive October 2015 again and again, or dial in on left-handed power hitters who wore the number 9 – but no.

This is the latest well-designed and malignant time suck, and I can feel the nation's productivity and GDP slipping already. Is that an evil Bond villain laugh that I hear?

“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio/Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” the great American troubadour Paul Simon once wrote.

Indeed. Turns its eyes 24/7 if so desired.

It will be the end of us.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner's editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter at @FoxEJC.