The Reel World

There was a time when people lived a real life
In a real world 

When they’d say, “how do you do?”
And, “where are you from?”

In that prehistoric time
They looked one another in the eye, and weren’t afraid to shake or lend a sturdy hand
And even when they didn’t want to care, they at least tried

In that real world they all had curious books with real pages
They read the newspaper, or a magazine
Thirsting with their eyes, turning with their fingers

They touched their reality, they experienced it
The people did hard work, real work, in the real world

At one time they farmed
And some time later they took their kids to school, drove to the office, ate a sandwich, clocked out
Then they went home, and gathered

Boredom existed
But only for as long as a friend could be made out of a stranger
And small talk led to great ideas

The grandness of the human connection in the real world was still at times quite tense
And unpredictable

Sadness and tears, badness and fears
Were in that world
It was an authentic place
Not a perfect one

The real world is still out there, somewhere

But the reel world…
The one that was not yet born
When cathode ray tubes, and cinema, and commercials were colorless infants
It was waiting, waiting for its time
And the minds of men did not see it coming
It began its delicate and feathery descent into real life
No…its coup-d’etat, coup de main, a coup de maĆ®·tre
And then came the revolution!
Streaming, emoticons, avatars, mythological disembodied virtual selves
Amazon products flying off virtual shelves
Crypto, disinfo, outrage, gaming
Another upgrade and another cracked screen
Mailboxes sans actual mail, digital identities, no privacy, cyber Monday sales
Infinite channels, marketing brands, man becomes machine, machine becomes man
Netflix, Apple licks, keyboard clicks, Instagram and selfie sticks
Social media minus social connection, hacking, #hash-tagging, who won the election?
Spotify, AI, now we’re all so pornified
SoundCloud, Twitter, Gates and Zuck, Tik Tok, Rogan, Pintrest, Musk

And do not forget the blessed award shows
A congratulatory carousel of inane absurdity

With a slap in the face
Reel life towers over real life
Leaving the real world at a standstill
In utter shock and dismay at the blow to the jaw, and to the ego

Now commence the ovation. A standing one
An awkward but telling demonstration of a culture that has lived so long in the reel world
It knows not how or what to feel about real life

So it all now moves, as if guided by that same slapping hand
From one thing to another, none of it connected to the other. Living the digital life
Buying online, working online, loving online, fighting online, living online
Amused to death and yet bored to death all at the same bloody time

Welcome to the Reel World.

--David A.D., Adult