Love/Hate Relationship With Technology

We all love technology and the advances and conveniences it brings to our lives.  Of course we are often dragged kicking and screaming into the actual use of such new devices.  We love it but the mechanics of changing over to a new system is fraught with perils, not to say curses and frustrations.  We have all had the joy at one time or another of assembling one of those toys on Christmas Eve with instructions written apparently by the poorest student in the English class in Japan, explaining how to insert part A into the receptacle in Part B but placing the flange in an upward spiral motion.   Not to despair you aren’t the first one to deal with something new.

The first guy who brought in his brand new bow and arrow set to the cave might well have been ridiculed for spending his time on making a childish musical instrument to strum with that stick.  And by the way, that stick was dangerous because it had a sharp point!  Even after its intended use was explained there was no doubt some guy in the back with a beer belly talking about how a real man would take on the saber tooth tiger with his bare hands and a sharpen stone.   What a sissy way to kill game.

When Morse first introduced the telegraph there were detractors who said that no one would have anything important enough to say and pay those high prices to save only a few days in the post with a letter.  And all that cryptic language to save money was an affront to the King’s English.  (Ok, you history buffs it would have been the Queen’s English at that time).  Well, somehow it turned out there were lots of people who wanted to use the telegram and did so for about a century on a regular basis.

When Alex Bell perfected the telephone the money men on Wall Street wouldn’t back him.  They thought is was a silly toy that no serious people would want to use.  If you wanted to have just a conversation you could send a letter and if it was important there was always the telegram.  Lo and behold, turns out those guys underestimated the females of America.  They could talk for hours and now they weren’t just limited to gossip over the back fence anymore.  Today we all have to dodge those neighborhoods moms driving around with that phone permanently attached to their ear. 

I don’t like it that every time we get something new in the house I have to call one of my kids to come help me install the thing.  I swear even something as simple as a coffee pot as gone digital and requires a degree from MIT to “program” it.   What happened I wonder to all those millions of old coffee pots with the stem in the middle that you filled with coffee and then water in the pot and put it on the range top?  You could make a great cup of coffee and didn’t have to read any instructions or use a touch screen to get  it.   Forget about even trying to get a new TV.  Now that requires some really advanced electronic savvy.  They all have so many holes and outlets and “ports” all over them and you kid on the phone simply can’t understand that you have no idea what a USB or UBS or whatever is, where it is or what it is for.  Those little openings everywhere have these weird symbols on them.  They make the Rosetta Stone look easy.  The cuneiform writings of the Code of Hammarubi look simple compared to them.   The kids act like you are some kind of yokel who can’t read and write.  I never have seen any of them study these things, never heard of any of them taking classes.  They seem to acquire this knowledge by drinking the water.   Where did they learn all this stuff.

I do remember the one advance that I thought was terrific–the original remote controls for TV.  The sets were mostly black and white still but they gave a pretty good quality picture if you adjusted the antenna just so.  But I hated the constant jumping up and down to change channels or change stations or adjust the sound.  If you were married in those days it was the wife’s job (and revenge) to shout a stream of instructions about such changes from the kitchen even though she couldn’t even see the TV.  It was hard work jumping up and down from the couch to make all those trips to the set.  I wonder if the modern c0ncern over obesity could be linked to the use of TV remotes?   Anyway, those first remotes only controlled the station and the volume.   But you didn’t have to leap off the couch to go do it to please the little lady.  Hmm, you think that loss of some control over the situation made the ladies more feisty and led to the increase in the divorce rate in the last four decades?  

Now it is the new cars.  No key! Who ever heard of such a thing.  Screens on the dashboard that steadily bombard you with more information than you want or could use.  And those seats, they start moving on their own when you sit down.  I about leapt out of the car the first time that happened.  I mean, who is in charge here, me or some sinister being inside that dashboard.  For those of you who can’t live without your new robotic car with GPS and Onstar tracking, those Iphones, Ipads and security systems controlled from some mysterious place within those, I wish you luck in your brace new world.  I still feel safer cranking the starter by hand and trust my pen and ink on paper to guide me in life.  I left the fast lane for the placid lane.   Now I need to pull up my Turbo Tax before the deadline.

Why am I not comforted to know that Eric Holder will decide on a case by case basis which of the terrorists caught in the war on terror will be tried in civilian court?   Could it be the fiasco of the KSM trial being scheduled by him for Manhattan.  What a brilliant idea.


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Filed under Culture, family, history

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