My wife gave me a Fitbit for Christmas. She thought it would help me to stay healthy and also satisfy my fascination with electronic gadgetry. I was leery, “Do I really want to wear a watch, something I gave up 30 years ago, and despite the things this one does in addition to telling time?”
I knew I had to give it a try, but when I attempted to turn it on, nothing happened. I attached the charger, thinking that’s what was needed to get it going. I was wrong. It still wouldn’t do anything. Of course, the thing didn’t come with a manual, but there was a sentence on the box that directed me to a website to set up the Fitbit using a computer, or as an option, an App that could be download to a smart phone.
I chose the website process using my computer. I got into the set-up and hit a snag when I came to the last part. It instructed me to turn on the PC’s Bluetooth. My computer doesn’t have Bluetooth. I had to go to my phone, download the App and start over again, thinking how easy things used to be – you bought a watch, strapped it on, wound it, set the time and you were done. Everything was like that. And, everything that needed a manual came with a manual. Not anymore.
Anyhow, I got it going. It displayed the time, my pulse rate, and the number of steps I’d taken toward a preset goal of 10,000 per day. It had a “Run” section that would keep time and mileage if I went for a jog, a count of the calories I’d burned and a few other fitness measurements.
I thought, “Cool!” Not knowing I’d introduced a new nag into my life, maybe as bad as the one living in my car that tells me to put air in the tires and turns on the check engine light, but never says why. This new nag started out in a pleasant fashion, “Congratulations, you met your 10,000 steps goal today.” That sort of thing. But, after a few days of being nice, it turned into a mean spirited personal trainer. “You only slept six hours last night; Tsk, Tsk.” “Your calorie burn for the day missed the mark.” – “You’ve only taken 6,342 steps; get moving.” – “Turn on your phone’s Bluetooth for your monthly report and do better!” Things like that. At least that’s how it sounded to me.
Now, I’m trying to figure out how to reprogram it, to measure things more important to me.
“You haven’t eaten a Snickers Bar this week, time to get munching.” – “The package of Oreos in your cupboard has only one row left; don’t get caught shorthanded.”
And, when I’m in Daytona Beach watching the parade of motorcycles on Main Street during Bike Week, a reminder that the number of empty beer bottles on the table in front of me is way too little for this event.” I’d change the name too. From “Fitbit” to “Don’t-Have-a-Fit,” and a message every so often like, “Enjoy the day, smell the roses.”