••• The International Writers Magazine: Observations 2018 - Technophobia
Mis-Adventures in Technoland
Observations on This & That
When things break down - the age of gadget fatigue
In several columns this past year I’ve observed that techogadgets such as iPads, iPhones, GPS’s, laptops, computers (if these are not, like land phones, already obsolete) have increasingly pervaded the lives of senior citizens like myself. They provide us with all kinds of information, enable us to contact people, talk to and see distant family members (via Skype), tell us where we are and how to get to where we’re going, take selfies and other pictures, let us play games and even make phone calls. I’ve also observed that, handy as all these technogadgets are, and how did we manage without them, they’re also subject to breakdowns, and when these happen we’re in trouble.
In recent weeks, we’ve had these things happen. My venerable iPad2 has told me it can no longer provide access to my e-mails or connect me to Skype, which we use to see our family in Ireland. Beverly’s newer minipad stopped being able to send pictures to our printer and on a daily basis loses its wi-fi connection. All of our pads, including my newer minipad keep freezing up. Our “smart” TV makes us try half a dozen times before letting us get to Amazon or Netflix and, in the case of Netflix, tells us we’ve signed out and requires us to sign back in by typing in our user name and password. Our old and no doubt obsolete “dumb” TV inexplicably went blank and, after I’d arranged for a technician to come out, suddenly sprang back to life. All in all, it’s a constant battle of senior citizen against gadget and I don’t have to tell you how that will turn out.. One more thing: Beverly and I were discussing what technogadgets we’d like to see. She’d like something that would cook and clean. I’d like something that would pick up objects from the floor. Both of us would like some kind of teleportation so we could be beamed to Ireland and see our family there (better than Skyping).
Readers know that I’ve also had a number of observations about the trials and tribulations of aging and am on the lookout for what others have to say about these. A recent Wall Street Journal article by a gentleman named John Buskin is headlined: “The Older I Get the Less I Seem to Know.” I think the headline is somewhat misleading because it refers to Mr. Buskin, who’s a mere 70 years old, not keeping up with things like rap groups and so-called celebrities. Thus, he writes that, being a crossword addict, he finds that rap artists are increasingly being used as answers and he has no knowledge of them. This caught my eye as I’m also a crossword addict and I’ve encountered the same problem. Mr. Buskin writes he has to resort to Google (see above) and this is exactly what I do. He also writes that leafing through a People magazine he didn’t recognize even one of the celebs inside. I’ve long been aware that there’s a whole world outside that I know nothing about. This would include rap artists, country singers, extreme sports and people with names like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Lindsey Lohan and any Kardashians.
Mr. Buskin concludes his article by writing: “And maybe, just maybe, I can learn to be smart enough to know that it doesn’t really matter that I can’t keep up with the pace of change. Maybe the crossword puzzle is something I used to do more easily. Maybe I’m not missing anything by not keeping up with pop culture or comic book movies or the movers and shakers. Maybe I don’t need to know how the latest technology works. In other words, maybe I don’t have to feel so dumb if I just change my definition of wisdom.” I fully concur with this conclusion, which is why I think the headline is somewhat misleading. I think we seniors can get along without knowing all the things Mr. Buskin mentions and there’s always Google.
A third subject of “Observations’ has been remembrance of this things past, often in comparison with things present, and usually to the disadvantage of the latter. I’ve referred to TV shows like Mary Tyler Moore and others long before blatant sex, violence, nudity, vampires and zombies took over. Beverly and I recently watched a program celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Carol Burnett show and this was another reminder. The show was a ground-breaking one in that it was the first TV variety show headlined by a woman. Burnett is now 84 and looked very good. We old-timers remember Harvey Corman, Lyle Waggoner and Vivki Lawrence, who also appeared on the anniversary show. Tim Conway, who may have been the funniest person of his era, wasn’t and I hope he’s doing well.
The anniversary show featured clips of the old show. What I recall most was Burnett coming out at the start and answering questions from the audience, the antics of Tim Conway and the good time the cast seemed to have, often cracking up at something ad libbed by someone, most often Conway. The old Carol Burnett show left you with a good feeling and so did the anniversary one.
The Year 2017: as I recall, I said that the year 2016 was a pretty bad one and 2017 would probably be worse. This turned out to be a pretty accurate prediction. Aside from the continuing mess in Washington, mass shootings and reality TV, there’s the terrible season of the Kings and the 49ers, the collapse of my football Giants, the revelation that all of those celebs, entertainers and politicians were sexual predators, and nature chiming in with hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes and weird weather in between. But, as I’ve said here before, let’s end on a brighter note by reminding ourselves that we seniors have seen even worse and that we’re still here. And we do have Google.
© Martin Green Jan 1st 2018
A Note of Thanks to Hackwriters
I’ll miss Hackwriters, as I’m sure all of its writers and readers will, but it’s been a long and happy ride
Remembering Art Grossman
He wondered what had happened to Art. Was he still around? The obvious thing was to Google him ...
Bud had come for lunch sometime in September. He’d seemed fine then. At their lunches, they’d usually have a report that one or another of their old tennis group had passed away, but he assumed Bud would be there forever.