One thing about the Bench Sitters that has not changed over the many years this column has been in the Bulletin is that they share a trait of being secretive about some of the most trivial things in their lives.
It’s a bit of a cultural issue with many people who have lived all their lives in small western communities like Kaycee and Buffalo.
The real fact may be there are not secrets in a small town, but most of us keep trying.
If one of the Bench Sitters is going to go on a little trip or vacation, they almost never announce their plans, and if possible, will provide no details when they get back.
These guys don’t want anyone to know even the smallest details of their lives. How much they paid for that new pickup truck, what their steer calves weighed last fall and most of all what price they got.
If they are scheduled to get a hip fixed, their coffee buddies are usually the last to find out.
And the women are not much different. It’s a major project to pry any information of a personal nature out of any of them.
What they all don’t seem to realize is that in this modern world they can’t even stop by the grocery store without all that data being sent somewhere, along with how long they shopped, much of what they purchased and data about their credit.
These new cars and pickup trucks are telling the manufacturers how you drive, where you go, how well you maintain your vehicle, how fast you drive and if you have a minor fender-bender or even a close call.
They know how much night driving you do, how faithful you are about changing the oil, if you drifted out of your driving lane or followed too close.
If the car isn’t spilling enough of your secrets, the credit card company is keeping track of where you spend your money, what you buy and they can predict if you like to garden, play golf and go fishing, or the kinds of food you like … not to mention how faithful you are about paying your bills.
The cable or dish television folks are keeping track of what kind of shows you like, if you only watch Fox News or “shop around” for information and what kind of sports you like.
They know if you use the television for a night light in your bedroom and have a lot of data to classify you in more ways than you can imagine.
Then there are the cellphone folks who know more than your mother did, how long you talk, and even where you have been and how long you stayed in one place.
Many people use their phones to do everything from reminding themselves to take their pills to banking and reading articles from different publications.
They can predict who you might vote for in the next election, if you are likely to donate money to any candidate or even vote at all.
If you are techy enough you might have one of those little round objects on the kitchen counter you can talk too.
“Alexa … who won the World Series in 1964?”
And she will say, “The Cardinals won the series four to three over the Yankees,” and then she will tell you the score of the final game, the price of a hot dog and a beer and the air temperature that day.
Meanwhile others are wearing technology on their wrists that look like watches but keep track of huge amounts of data concerning how much they move during a given day, how well they sleep and goodness knows what bodily functions we can’t imagine.
So … if someone says, “Didn’t I see you in Casper last week?” You might as well confess that you were down there to see a specialist about that pain in your posterior.
They might as well know, because your car, credit card, cellphone and a half dozen other spies have already noted that little bit of information, classified it, analyzed it and made projections based on that data and stored it in the Cloud forever.
In the meantime, we’ll keep acting like our lives are private and nobody knows what we might be thinking.
You can get ready to change the oil in the lawn mower and we’ll keep track of everything we can to report again next week. By the way, change that spark plug or the “spy-in-the-sky” might give you a bad mark on mower maintenance.