The Sidewalk Nursery

Sept. 18 1998 3:30 AM

The Sidewalk Nursery

The true comforts of a cell phone or Walkman may lie deeper than we think.

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So, it all fits. The Walkman, the cell phone, the water bottle are efforts to regain the warmth and comfort of infancy and find relief from the loneliness of adulthood. This need is surely not new. I remember the epigraph of James T. Farrell's book Studs Lonigan, which I read more than 60 years ago:

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Alone and afraid,

In a world I never made.

Modern technology--the Walkman, the cell phone, and the plastic bottle--has given us new ways to try to deal with this old feeling. There are probably worse ways.

Herbert Stein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He is a member of the board of contributors at the Wall Street Journal.

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