Scientists say our addiction to phones and the prevalence of attention deficit disorder (ADD) in both kids and adults can lead to very awkward conversations.
To illustrate the problem, researchers at the University of Southwestern Maine University recorded a conversation between a father and son driving home from school. The son had his face buried in his phone, while the father was half listening to the Jocko and the Dinkster sports radio show. The study, published in the Journal of Important Science Stuff, includes the following transcribed conversation.
“So, do we have a problem at school?” said Dad.
“Dewey’s fine. And he’s stupid.”
“Andy’s stupid? I had no idea. But he’s your friend, right?”
“No, Buddy is a jerk. Will he ever grow up?”
“Willie’s immature? Can he get help?”
“Kenny tried to get help, but he got scared and ran away.”
“Buddy ran away? How he must have cried.”
“No, Howie didn’t cry, and he wasn’t sad either.”
“Andy wasn’t sad either? Would he lie about it?”
“Woody’s no liar; he was genuinely surprised. Why, it was shocking to see.”
“Wyatt was shocking to see? Is he an old friend?”
“No, Izzy is the quarterback of the football team, so he thinks he’s cool.”
“Zoey thinks he’s cool?”
“No, Zoey made fun of what hat he wore.”
“What did Hattie wear?
“I don’t know, but Zoey made fun of Izzy’s hat.”
“When’d he wear it?
“Wendy didn’t wear it. But man, he really got upset.”
“Manny got upset?”
“No, Izzy got upset. Manny moved to Idaho and joined a religious cult.”
“Let me get this straight….”
“What does Lemmy have to do with anything? I’m confused.”
“Don’t bring Mee Tu into it. He just transferred here from China and barely knows English.”
The research team posits that awkward conversations like this can lead to bigger problems, such as silly misunderstandings like those that were the basis of sitcoms like Three's Company.
"Bottom line: the solution involves taking some kind of pharmaceutical drug. That's really the only reason we do these studies," said the lead researcher.