Belfast Telegraph

From pre-cradle to the grave, today there's a completely different set of milestones we're aiming to tick off

By Lindy McDowell

Even before the weekend reports of a cyber attack on the NHS, some of us were already harbouring suspicions that technology may not always be our best friend.

Take that story about the Craigavon car that phoned its local PSNI station to tip them off that its driver had been drinking.

"He's swerving me all over the place! I swear any more of this and the wheels are coming off!"

Okay, maybe not in so many words exactly.

It turns out some new cars are fitted with a device that alerts police if the vehicle is involved in an accident. In this case, responding to the message (from a humble Ford Fiesta; I'd have assumed something futuristic like a Tesla) officers arrived at the scene to discover the driver was over the limit.

What impressed me was that police actually answered the car's call. You hear so many stories these days about the PSNI being unable to respond because of lack of resources...

But there you have it. Your hatchback calling the cops on you.

Another of those life milestones that we will all doubtless someday notch up.

A few decades ago the list of "things to do before you're 40" would have boasted boring stuff like travel the world, land a job, run a marathon and learn to scuba dive.

Back then you knew where you were with life's milestones.

Technology has changed all that. Technology and social media and our increasing obsession with daft, trivial stuff which now commands our attention more than, say, NHS meltdown or the threat of global annihilation.

The result is that from pre-cradle to decrepitude there's now a wholly different list of milestones to tick off. If only because everybody else seems to have already done so.

A few examples...

In your baby scan you appeared to be making a rude gesture. Your mother posted the scan online. It went viral.

At about six weeks old you appeared to say: "Hello" to your dad in mobile phone footage.

As a toddler, your brother Charlie bit your finger.

You were suspended from school for having the wrong hairdo and/or shoes. Your outraged parent posted pictures on Facebook.

When you applied for a job the interviewer made sneering remarks in a text telling you that you hadn't got it.

When you did get a job, you accidentally forwarded an email to the boss in which you described him as a numpty.

You got someone to video your marriage proposal to your partner in front of thousands at a major sports event. He/she said no.

You turned to Tinder, later sharing online the creepy replies you received before eventually finding The One.

Your hen party/stag party caused the plane to be diverted to Stansted.

You made a wedding dance video.

The doves that you released at your wedding collided with the drone you'd bought to film them.

You blogged about the trauma.

You've now got a cat with odd facial markings which has its own Instagram account.

You also have a rescue dog who tweets.

You have a child called Bear. Or Daiquiri.

You've posted a picture of your Mexican-themed birthday party and been accused of cultural approbation.

Ashers have refused to bake a cake for you.

You've found an exotic spider in a bunch of supermarket bananas.

You've been dragged off a plane to make way for airline staff.

Your guitar or large exotic pet has been badly manhandled by baggage handlers.

You've posted a video of your granny failing to cope with modern technology.

You've been the granny in the video.

You've filmed a road rage incident.

You've been filmed in a road rage incident.

You've been filmed face down on a floor...

Arlene's memory of mum a real hair-raiser

My response to Arlene's "blonde" bombshell remarks was to search out the interview and read it all.

In fact, Ms Foster comes out of it very well. By crying sexism (which it isn't) Sinn Fein have merely drawn more attention to the full article which I doubt helps their cause. In the interview, Arlene mentions yet another woman's hair colour. Her mother's.

After witnessing the horrific murder bid on her father, her mother's hair turned white from shock.

An image there perhaps to balance Michelle's hurt over Blondegate.

Famous Irish welcome flagging in Donegal

Cead mile failte, the Irish tourism industry proudly proclaims. A view not unanimously shared apparently in Dunfanaghy, where a businessman has faced savage criticism for daring to hoist a Union flag at his Donegal holiday park.

The gentleman concerned points out that most of his clientele come from Britain and apparently he regularly greets his guests by raising the flag of their particular nation. Recent flags flown include that of Russia.

This has not placated Outraged of Facebook, however. A hundred thousand welcomes? Make that ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.

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