THE minutes following the end of the World Cup last week once more illustrated how clever humans have become - so clever I fear we might press the wrong button one of these days and blow ourselves to smithereens.
Consider this: seconds after the referee blew for full-time, South Africans in their living rooms were entertained to scenes of euphoric Spaniards back home in Madrid going ballistic with joy.
I thought of what it was like when I was younger, and such news was sent via a letter or telex. Not too long ago the Spaniards would probably have had to wait for the news bulletins the following morning to break the news.
I felt quite ancient having a chat with my kids, and realising their disbelief when I told them how news was spread when many of us grew up. The famous (and expensive) method was the telegraph, as in "MOTHER DIED FUNERAL SATURDAY."
That would take a day or two to get to the recipient.
Township people were famous if they had a phone in the house. It was a status symbol.
Other kids wanted to befriend you because your folks had a phone ... "Ay, this guy ... they have a phone and a car (at his home)."
If one of the parties in a communication chain did not have a phone, as most did not, it meant waking up in the wee hours of the morning to catch a bus and a train and another train to deliver the news of a death, birth or whatever. And then trek back.
If one party had a phone, you could go to the post office, queue for sometimes hours outside a phone booth, then dial the operator to book a number, and that was if the phone was working.
All this did not happen when Jan van Riebeck arrived here. It did just years ago in our lifetime.
Strange how our kids seem to believe that it has always been there: remote controls, cellphones, Bluetooth, MP3, Navigator, microwave ovens, e-mail, Internet ... and even TV and flushing toilets.
My take is that it has come on all too fast, and while we all love the comfort and modern-day convenience, I fear we might be getting too clever for our own good.
Scientists tell us it is possible to bomb or gas ourselves into extinction.
Back to the World Cup. I received an e-mail from a creative friend that says our countrymen have done it again - exploiting the moment for posterity.
Here are names discovered by nurses in hospitals:
Offside Mchunu, Argentina Sibiya, Vuvuzela Mhlongo, England Nkosi, Soccer City Mthembu, Cameroon Vilakazi, Striker Hadebe, Midfielder Zwane, Denmark Ntombela, Red-card Mbatha, Brazil Khuzwayo, Coach Sibisi, France Kheswa, Goalkeeper Sithole, Parreira Mthethwa, 2010 Dlamini, Jersey Magubane, Substitute Shandu, Ball Skhakhane, Stadium Gumbi, Kick-off Shabalala, Fans Zulu.