Mailbag: No Substitute for Our Triad

From now on, when anybody asks why we do what we do, we’re going to point them to an article one of our readers sent us this week.

The article is a sad sign of the times.

It’s about a young girl who “dared” to trade in her smartphone for a flip phone… for a week.

Oh, the horror…

Believe it or not, she survived.

But she says she’ll never do it again.

After giving up her smartphone, she said she had to use an old-fashioned alarm clock to get out of bed in the morning. She couldn’t stream music during her morning stretches. And, this must have hurt, she had to read a real book… made from paper.

But her pain gets worse.

Without autocorrect to fix her mistakes, she had to learn how to spell again.

She had to use a map… and actually write down directions. (She tells us she never got “too lost.”)

And then, get this, at dinner one night, she wanted to split the check with her friends. But without an app on her phone to do the math for her, she had trouble figuring out who owed what.

Even worse, not being able to use her phone to instantly pay her friends, she had to somehow find physical cash.

The poor thing.

But her story wasn’t entirely written like something out of a horror novel. Oh no, the author admits she never felt happier. After all… she was still able to check in on Facebook and Twitter via her desktop.

What did she miss the most after giving up her smartphone? It was the connection to her friends and family.

That’s sad, folks.

If she thinks a smartphone nurtures her instinctual need for Connections… she’s in big trouble.

Of course, she’s not alone. Our culture is loading up with folks who think an electronic device is a fine substitute for our Triad.

They think their Liberty, Know-How and Connections come with a power switch and a rechargeable battery.

It’s so far from the truth that it keeps us up at night… which is why we get up early each morning to do what we do.

Fortunately, there are plenty of folks who see the world the way we do.

They fill up our mailbag…

A Real Connection

Andy: Your article on the “New Cancer” certainly hit the center ring with me.  

I am 85 years of age and still volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I started with HFH in 2005, two years after I retired from the construction industry. During that period, I have led the construction of 19 homes including three complete renovations. In addition, I have trained and led a group of volunteers who perform the complete wiring of HFH homes. In that effort, we are presently somewhere north of 155 homes. In 2017, I was honored as the “Ohio Habitat for Humanity Volunteer of the Year.” I can assure you I was as proud that day as anyone could be. 

I am still blessed with having my wife of 62 1/2 years, five married children and 13 grandchildren. So, loneliness is not my problem! But I can assure you that I would be a very unhappy camper without my contact with so many wonderful people who share the same enthusiasm for our work. 

I can certainly understand the logic behind your article and pray that it will help some people to take the more pleasant way to good health than the doctors and their “snake oil.” 

Keep up the good work. – Reader E.K. 

Great stuff, E.K.

As we wrote on Monday, volunteering is one of the very best ways to nurture your Connections and  give back to the world.

But there’s something in E.K.’s note many folks will overlook. It’s worth mentioning.

He says he was as proud as anybody the day he got his award.

He should be.

But a lot of folks would lean toward being humble. They’d say they’re just doing what’s right.

That’s true. But it’s not the whole story.

It links us back to the girl who gave up her smartphone… and how she felt disconnected without it.

She may have 24-hour access to her friends and family with her phone. But she’ll never be truly connected. She’ll never put down her phone after sending a text message and feel proud of herself. She’ll never have a reason to stand proud and tall.

But E.K. and the folks like him who understand the value in volunteering… well, their well-earned pride will do great things for their lives.

A Cold Treat

Speaking of pride…

Hi, Andy. I just wanted to say how brilliantly I thought you used the bloody knife and wolves analogy. Very clever, well-crafted essay. I appreciate great rhetoric, especially when it’s truth! – Reader K.S.

Thanks… and for the latest example of somebody with a numb tongue, refer back to our intro.

We wonder if there’s an app for that.

We received a lot of great, thoughtful comments on that essay about Venezuela’s gold. Many were quite detailed and from folks on the ground. We wish we could share them all.But here’s one that aptly sums up the typical note…

Interesting piece and I share your concern, but is the solution military intervention as Trump has suggested? It has been a while since the U.S. has intervened militarily in Central America. Boycotting the state oil company is a better start and working with other countries to isolate Maduro makes sense. Invading Venezuela makes no sense. – Reader M.L.

To be clear, we didn’t call for war. We simply wanted to spread some desperately needed Know-How.

While most folks mindlessly watched the Super Bowl, the real movers and shakers of this world were doing what they do best… stealing the people’s money.

That’s why we don’t advocate for a military move.

It’s just as we told Manward Letter readers this week. War doesn’t solve problems.

It merely monetizes them.

Keep the questions and comments coming. We read them all. Email us at

P.S. We received a ton of feedback on Dr. Jain’s essay on all-natural pain remedies. He’ll be back on Monday answering some of your questions in his own mailbag feature.

This Week Could Determine the Fate of the U.S. Economy

If you own stocks... pay attention. If you own a house... listen up. And if you’re on a fixed income... well, get ready for the fallout.

A Healthier Alternative to Alternative Meat

Vegetarians and investors are going crazy over Beyond Meat, the plant-based patty that looks and feels like real meat. But if you’re like most folks, you probably have questions...

How to Change Your Perspective to Get What You Want

If you’ve ever dieted... and didn’t lose weight. If you’ve ever saved for retirement... and didn’t get rich. If you’ve ever started something... and didn’t finish it. Please pay attention.