Start setting aside egg beaters, right now. Trust me. Why? I'll explain.

In 10 years you'll read stories about people who make a nice living selling antique egg beaters, because people don't like the newfangled ones that require internet connectivity. Sure, at first it seemed cool — you could track your egg beating and share it with your friends. But then hackers got into the apps and made the egg beaters attack you.

Silly? Well, perhaps you saw a story in last week's Star Tribune about farmers who like old tractors, because they're not dependent on the internet.

I completely understand. Let me tell you a little story of modern times — its boons, trials, absurdities and other words authors turn to when they're not sure if they can fill out the word count this week.

You, of course, have heard of noise-canceling headphones. "Sorry, what was that?" you say. "I was wearing noise-canceling headphones and couldn't hear you." Let me rephrase. YOU KNOW ABOUT THOSE HEADPHONES THAT TUNE OUT THE WORLD? (Note that I am also kicking you lightly in the shin.)

"Sure," you say. "They're the hot thing. They're great for walking around, listening to music and not hearing approaching sirens as you cross the street." I bought a pair for airplane trips. The first time I switched them on it was absolute sorcery. The world fell away. The engines, the noisy passengers, the baby whose given name was probably Colic Galore — gone.

Last year I got a new pair, because they were wireless, and only pitiful OK Boomers have wires. What are you listening to with your wires, recordings of a player piano?

The new ones came with an app so I could control the settings on my phone, recalibrate to new noise levels, change where I wanted the sound to originate. I could make the music sound like it was coming from behind me in case I wanted to pretend I was being stalked by the New York Philharmonic.

Got on a plane on the first of January, turned on the headphones, and called up the app. "Please agree to our new privacy policy," it said.

And if I don't? You'll brick my headphones? Why do you even have a privacy policy? Let me guess: by "privacy" you mean "the utter absence of anything resembling that concept," and you're going to be collecting data on my use of the headphones "to improve my future experiences." Well, future me just called and he wants the elimination of anything you do that would require a privacy policy.

But we are trained to automatically accept any New Privacy Policy, which probably was written to conform to some interminable new rule from California or the European Union. So here I am stabbing the "accept" button over and over and over.

And it won't work. The screen is locked. At this point I am thinking, "I don't care how much of my personal data this thing collects and sells, I just want it to work. Please work! There is a baby crying six rows back, and I will give up all my privacy in perpetuity to cancel the noise."

The flight attendant instructs us to set our devices to airplane mode, because otherwise the plane will falter on takeoff and smack into the river. This is when I realize that I already have done that, in the process turning off the cellular data for the headphone app, which is why it won't download 645MB of updates. Quickly, before the plane moves, I enable cellular data and approve the privacy policy without reading a single word!

The headphones connected. Alas, I forgot to turn airplane mode back on, which is why I am writing this from Peru. Navigation went out, but we made it down.

This is why farmers want old tractors. At some point, the newfangled tractors won't turn on unless you approve the privacy policy or the new terms and conditions. Or worse: It gets hacked by a hostile government, and the tractor can't be steered and heads into the woods while the speaker calls you a son of a pig in Farsi.

Either way, industrial agriculture collapses and everyone starves. So I repeat how I began this missive: Start saving up egg beaters now, so you can make breakfast in the post-crash world. Chickens aren't connected to the internet. Yet. • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks •