As Tears Go By: Lent in Casablanca, Night 7

I know: the famous song in “Casablanca” is “As Time Goes By,” while “As Tears Go By” is a classic Rolling Stones ballad. 

In one scene, Laszlo gets up from his table to go meet Birger in the bar. He tells Ilsa he’ll be right back, picks up his cigarette case, and walks off. 

Most people in “Casablanca” have cigarette cases. I think there’s only one shot of a commercial cigarette pack.  Cigarette cases are awesome props. They’re flat and elegant, and they give you a firm flat surface upon which to pack down your cigarette before lighting it.

I only know one person today who carries a cigarette case: one of my work wives, Wendy.

Laszlo was walking away for three minutes, and he took his cigarette case, even though he had a lit one going.

I do the exact same thing with the DorkFone. If I leave my desk for 4 minutes to visit the restroom, I take my phone.  As I walk, I check Twitter, text messages, and e-mail.

I mocked Twitter for quite awhile before joining. When I first signed-up, I followed various friends, and it was just another social media platform.

In the past week, that has changed. When the giant earthquake hit Japan, I heard about it within a few minutes.  My friend Jay retweeted the flash from @BreakingNews, and the information was passed on to me. Since then, I’ve followed other sources. Five hours ago, I received a tweet from a VOA reporter DURING a 6.0 aftershock.

Later, I was lying here reading, and the DorkFone made its little “Twitter” noise. I looked, and the shit was hitting the fan in Bahrain. Little 140 character bursts of information were forwarded from NPR’s Andy Carvin who was there. It wasn’t just his observations, but forwards from his network of friends and fellow journalists. Armed government helicopters were swarming. Somebody took a pic with his iPhone and tweeted it to @acarvin, who retweeted it. Within 5 minutes of this thing flying over Bahrain, its picture was in my DorkFone.


The technology is amazing. While I was reading all safe in my bed, people half the world were protesting for their rights, and being gassed and bashed and shot at for it. Half the world away the other direction, people are dodging aftershocks and hoping the radiation gods are kind to them.

Information that used to take hours or days is now instantaneous. Is this a good thing?

I’m not sure. As a rule, I hate not knowing things, but at what point overload?

Laszlo is nagging Rick at one point, trying to guilt him into giving up the letters of transit. Laszo talks about helping thousands of people, and Bogie sets him straight: “The problems of the world are not my department.” Rick does his bit in his little corner of the world. He helps people, protects them when he can, and provides a sweet bar where folks can drink and gamble.

Maybe if he knew more about the world’s problems, he’d change his ways. Then again, knowing instantly about earthquakes and uprisings doesn’t mean I can do a damn thing to stop them or ease anyone’s pain.

With this new technology, the tears go by faster than the time. Maybe I’ll just leave the DorkFone at my desk, and if Wendy takes out her cigarette case, I’ll offer her a light, smile, and say “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” Seems like the kind of thing Rick would do.


2 Responses to “As Tears Go By: Lent in Casablanca, Night 7”

  1. I’m pretty sure that up-to-the-second reporting is NOT a good thing — well, maybe that’s too strong, but it is not always a good thing. There is way too much of a tendency to rush to judgment and make sweeping proclamations with very little to no actual data — let alone thought.

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