Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: Seriously, is there any difference between us and Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge or Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener?
RN: You mean, the two of us, personally? If so, dibs on Bartleby.
CP: Just as those 19th-century characters lean over their ledger books, we are everywhere hunched over our mobile devices, equally bitter and detached from humanity.
RN: Well, I don’t know about bitter.
CP: Detached, though. When was the last time you approached or spoke with a human being who was interacting with his or her phone? Not at the gym, not at the airport, not nowhere. They are emitting a giant “stay away” vibe, right?
RN: The universality of the smartphone is ironically tossing a big wet rag on the art of conversation. Last night at Burch Steak and Pizza Bar, I watched as most of a table of six spent more time bathed in iPhone glow rather than in face-to-face contact.
CP: At least when I am dining out with you, I have the good manners to hold my phone unobtrusively, beneath the table. That’ll be made more difficult when I upgrade to the much bigger tablet.
RN: Although I occasionally borrow my hubby’s Kindle, I remain iPad-free. I covet one, but then the practical ex-Lutheran within chimes in and asks, isn’t my laptop enough?