A Destitute King With No Country

I had a dream last night about Orson Welles, who I have written about here several times before. In the dream, he was doing a magic trick. He asked me to give him a coin. I placed a quarter in his gloved hand. He closed his hand and then opened it to reveal a key. He said, "This is what you were looking for, isn't it?"

I went downstairs, made my coffee and went online and did a search on his name. I thought that perhaps this was the day he was born or had died. It is not either of those. I searched on "Orson Welles magician" and it brought up links to the documentary about him by that name. Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles is a film I had not seen. I had tried last year unsuccessfully to find it on some streaming services.

But there it was, on YouTube, for free - perhaps not legally, but I watched it this morning. If it is still available and you have an interest, watch the version below (but go full screen).

And there is a brief scene in the film that is pretty much my dream. Somehow, that bit of film was in my head, and now I have rediscovered it.

If the embedded video isn't working, the film is available for purchase.
Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles 
and many of his films as actor and director that are referenced in the documentary.

National Take Your Parents To Work Day

National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is recognized on the fourth Thursday in April each year. This year it is on the 27th.

It is an educational program in the United States and Canada where parents take their children to work with them for one day. It is the successor to Take Our Daughters to Work Day which, in 2003, was expanded to include boys. Most companies allowed both girls and boys to participate since the beginning, some renamed the day “Take Our Children to Work Day.”

The intent of the day is to educate kids about what their parents actually do in the workplace. So many children can't explain what their parents do as a career. "My mom works in an office" isn't really an answer. Many companies now have very formal programs on this day to give kids a fuller picture and educational but fun day at work.

It all sounds good. But what I am suggesting is that we older parents need a "National Take Your Parents To Work Day."  I know what my sons' job titles are, and I know what companies they work for, but I can't say that I have a very clear picture what really is their typical workday.

That is not unusual for parents who have sons and daughter in their twenties and thirties and may well have jobs that didn't even exist when we were job hunting.

Well, my idea is not very origina. When I did a search, I found that there already is a LinkedIn Bring In Your Parents Day. LinkedIn Bring In Your Parents Day. In 2016, more than 50 businesses opened their doors to more than 20,000 parents right round the world. November 4, 2016 was the 4th year of the event. They said that "one third of parents don't understand what their children do for work."

Back in February 2013, Google had their first “Take Your Parents To Work Day” in its Manhattan offices. They had 285 parents "who may not have known their Androids from their algorithms were able to get an inside look at the goings-on at the tech giant."

Fear of Missing Out

You were away for a five days of vacationing and you didn't have phone service. It was kind of nice to be disconnected. But now, you're back home and reconnected.

You check your email accounts. Half junk and half things you now need to read and respond to. But what about all the posts you missed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks?

It is difficult to actually scroll through days worth of social media. Leave your Twitter feed unread while you're at work and when you sit down after supper there are hundreds or thousands of missed posts.

If you can just shrug and say "So, I missed some things while I was gone. No big deal," then you have a healthy attitude.

But if you feel like you have to go back and at least glance at what you missed, you may have "fear of missing out" or FoMO.

FoMo is real. It is defined as "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent."

If you suffer from this newly-recognized social angst, your desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing is strong.

Of course, almost all of us don't want to miss out on good things. The crew from your office went out last Friday after work for drinks and had a great time. You were away at a meeting all day and missed it. Do you feel regret?

With FoMo that regret is a compulsive concern. It makes you question decisions on how you spend your time.

"Things could have been so different if I had only..." is a a common FoMo thought.

This didn't start with the Internet. Fifty years ago without the Net or mobile phones people were worried that they might miss out on important things. I have given up subscriptions to print magazines and newspapers because they were piling up unread and I couldn't bear to just recycle them unread for fear that there was some story or article that I would really love. (Somehow I can easily ignore/delete digital issues of those same publications.)

25 years ago, if I went on vacation, I would come home and wonder what I missed. I'd look at the local paper and talk to friends. There usually wasn't much that had happened.

But technology has moved so much social and communicative experiences online, and it moves so fast and with so much content that we just "know" that we have missed a lot.

It is said that social networking services allow us the opportunity to be socially engaged with a reduced "cost of admission." I have more contact and "conversations" with people I went to high school with on Facebook than I ever did when we were in school together. Is that sad or wonderful?

A psychological dependence on staying connected can certainly produce anxiety when you are disconnected. Fear of missing out has become more than a meme. It is something that has a negative influence on people's psychological health and well-being.

Advertisers have known about this for a long time and used it. Campaigns based on "not missing out" and feeling included in the popular or "in" group are classics. I once belonged to the Pepsi Generation and was also a "Pepper."

1979 Commercial for Dr. Pepper soda with David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London)

The cure for all this seems simple: disconnect. But that is no more of a solution than telling anyone with an addiction to just stop giving in to the desire to use.

Step One: Recognize the problem.  Disconnect from all media for a weekend. No phones, TV, or news in any form. Go to a desert island of your own making. Then, monitor how you act during the weekend and also how you when you return to the world. Any fear that you missed out on some good things?