Ah, Rome. The eternal city. Center of my faith, where St. Paul stood – and died – in the face of the massive pagan empire.
What better place to find inspiration? What a perfect place to make a commitment for one’s entire life.
And thus was my fate two days past when I stood in St Peter’s Square, one of tens of thousands in Pope Francis’ Wednesday audience. My moment of truth came as I looked across the expanse of humanity…and I vowed:
“I will never own nor use a selfie stick.”
If for some inexplicable reason you do not know of this device, it is a stick-like device that holds your smart phone (with camera capability) beyond arm’s length, thereby enabling you to take a picture of yourself with a famous landmark or crowd of friends behind you.
The device has a secondary use of allowing you to hold your camera higher than you arm can reach, so you can get a picture of a passing dignitary – like the Pope. (NOTE: This secondary use is partially diminished when 20,000 other people are doing the same thing.)
These obnoxious sticks make for an odd crowd scene, suggesting a fleet of submarines with their periscopes raised, a flock of long-necked geese craning for a view or a misplaced herd of giraffe.
I call them obnoxious not only because they dehumanize a human scene, but because they show their users to be so thoroughly self-focused: thousands of souls in St. Peter’s Square taking pictures of themselves.
There is nothing new about folks taking pictures in front of famous places. But in the case of the selfie stick, the self is front and center, more important by far in the mind of the picture taker than the scene. The selfie stick screams: I. I am here. I am the center. I am so important. I.
So, my vow is to forever reject the selfie stick. I’m just not that important.