Last week I was thumbing through a magazine when I came across the stupidest new technology. It’s a promise ring of sorts, but it isn’t just one ring – it’s a set of two. However, these stylish black bands aren’t promising marriage. Called series commitment rings, their sole purpose is to make sure you and your partner don’t cheat by watching ahead on your favorite television series.
Unlike traditional wedding bands, series commitment rings are more than a mere symbol. They don’t just remind you of your commitment. They actually enforce it. According to the article, the rings interface with an app to block the episodes from playing on your video streaming service unless both rings are present.
Since I came from a 25-year career in the high-tech industry, I have nothing against cutting-edge ingenuity. I’m all for technological advances. Yet, for them to be counted as advances they ought to truly serve humanity.
It seems the only thing these series commitment rings are serving is a bigger dose of stupidity. After all, aren’t real relationships built on love and trust? I would hope so, but maybe Cornetto, the London-based ice cream company that developed these high-tech wearables, is betting against that. Maybe they’re hoping, instead, that the commitment to watch TV together is the cornerstone of the modern relationship.
If that is true, then we are in big trouble. Not only is that a ludicrous foundation, but most mainstream television programming is overwhelmingly inane and rife with propaganda. Perhaps that is the real reason for the rings.
Perhaps it’s not about our relationships with each other, but about our loyalty to Hollywood. After all, Cornetto has declared that watching ahead is actually “the worst kind of cheating.” Is it really? Is the Hollywood elite so full of themselves that they truly believe we care more about their fantasy than our own fidelity?
If we knew what was good for us, we’d turn off the TV and commit ourselves to being people of real character. We’d read actual books. We’d go for long walks in the great outdoors. We’d engage in meaningful conversations.
That is what people used to do and we were happier for it. We were happier because we knew that true literature produces a thinking mind, the beauty of nature soothes the soul, and genuine connection with our fellow human beings is essential for both healing and belonging.
Believe it or not, Cornetto, some of us still believe in this kind of real happiness. Some of us are more invested in building our own dreams than we are in distracting ourselves with triviality. In short, some of us simply aren’t going to buy what you’re trying to sell, despite the slogan that your rings will “make love last more than one season.”
I hope our love does last beyond the next 16 episodes of The Walking Dead. But if it doesn’t, it won’t be because we didn’t invest in series commitment rings. It will be because we didn’t invest in ourselves, becoming the zombies in our own lives – present in body, but lacking the creative and loving life force that is the beacon of true humanity.