Are You Becoming a “Palm Zombie?”

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Are You Becoming a “Palm Zombie?”

In the film ‘The Sixth Sense’, Cole Sear is a boy who is able to see and talk to the dead. I don’t see ‘dead people’ but I do see people everywhere staring at the electronic devices in their palms. I call them ‘palm zombies.’ I resisted becoming a palm zombie for as long as I could. I was very happy with my cell phone because I found it very useful for MAKING PHONE CALLS! Besides which I was already spending too much face time with my other ‘computer machines.’ My wife was even nagging me to trade my antique, so yesterday, flip phone for the so called (ironically named) ‘smart’ phone.
Although I was afraid I would become another palm staring zombie, I finally broke down and bought the ‘Droid Charge.’ I got it for a couple of reasons and NONE of them are because everyone else seemed to have one (well, maybe a little bit). My primary justification for getting a cell phone makeover was based on the fear that if I don’t keep up, I’ll be (or at least feel) irrelevant and obsolete. The fact is I work with business people and this is the way of the world and so I must join the ranks, like it or not.
I got my phone on Saturday and by the following day I figured out most of the basics, email, web browsing and texting (yes, texting — ever try texting with a flip phone?! At least I know ‘how’ to communicate with my 20 year old. Duh, he responds to texting. Phone calls…not so much.)
My Sundays are normally reserved for exercise in the morning, newspaper, coffee and sports in the afternoon. While the Droid did not interfere with my workout (this I will not negotiate!) I did not get through much of the front pages and world news of my precious Sunday paper. I thought “let me just see what the excitement is all about here. Games I can live without, music applications I like, and it’ll be nice checking email without having to open my laptop at the airport. Oh, look there’s a feed to the latest world news and sports right here on my phone. Hey this isn’t so bad after all!”
A few hours passed and I was completely sucked in, eyes focused like tractor beams, on the Droid in my palm. My brain started to hurt and I never did get back to my newspaper. The next day I noticed I was checking my email more often, not because was expecting anything urgent but simply BECAUSE I COULD!
Our Challenge
I also feel something happening in my brain that wants to, rather ‘needs’ to, check, look, stare at and otherwise be enamored with all of the ‘apps’ and possibilities of the palm sized computer I now carry. Or is it the ‘smart phone’ that is directing me, the human machine? This is my challenge and perhaps this is your challenges as well; how can we use our technology to improve our lives, our relationships, our work and our world?
I am so very thankful that I can still feel the difference. I will practice using my devices when it’s right to do so. Should I send an email or pick up the phone? Do I really need to surf the web right now or make contact with the person next to me or simply pay attention to my own feelings and thoughts?
We need the peace of mind, relaxation and presence that we can get by turning off the machine, slowing down, and connecting with ourselves and other people. If you need support with this, let me know, I’m here to help. In fact let’s support one another, we need it!


  1. I googled the nickname “palm zombies” to see if other folks felt the same about the people described. My opinion of them is not as accepting as the author. I frequently get walked into on the sidewalk by such zombies & dread seeing them behind me on the highway ! I personally just have a simple cell phone ( for emergencies only ) and have no other carry-around e-devices. I feel sorry for folks who have lost the ability & desire to interact with other humans face to face, in person. I know that I’m a dinosaur to most of these walking dead but couldn’t care less. Keep on pecking ! Peace. S.P.E.

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