I’ve been tinkering with the idea of writing some country lyrics called, “Closer to 60 than 50.” The next line would be something like, “And speeding on down the road.”
Hey, it’s just an idea. The fact is, I am closer to 60-years-old than to 50-years old and that means that not only was I born before computers and iPhones and MP3 players and all that other technology, but our first television was in black and white and it made the screen on your 19″ desk top look big. Bet you’ve never heard of shows like “Our Miss Brooks,” “Love that Bob” or “The Real McCoys.” Some of my favorites back then.
While my niece and nephew both grew up with the latest technology, I was here long before technology was. However, regardless of that, I am wildly amazed at the technology that has evolved in my lifetime and at the same time I am often completely baffled by it.
Life Before the Latest Technology
When I first learned to type, it was on an old standard electric. It was considered a luxury because prior to that typewriters were manual. And then when the IBM Correcting Selectric hit the market, we thought we’d died and gone to heaven. Now instead of having to hand erase typos, this baby had a correction feature which covered the mistake.
The only time the correction feature didn’t work was when we had to make stencils for the mimeograph. Copy machines were still in their infancy. Simple duplication was handled by using a piece of carbon paper sandwiched between two sheets of paper.
A mimeo (invented by Thomas Edison, btw) was basically an inexpensive printing press that we used for projects that required a large number of duplicates – mostly forms and newsletters. Virtually every office had one in the back room where it was surrounded by reams of paper and the unmistakable odor of solvent and ink.
It was a simple premise. You typed onto a rubbery, green sheet. The typewriter keys cut through the green so that when you wrapped the green sheet around the rotating cylinder of the mimeo and applied ink it would seep through where you had typed. All you had to do is add paper and viola! You could make copy after copy.
It was an arduous process, smelly and messy. And that’s why I…
Can’t Live Without My Computer and Internet
We are unequivocally joined at the hip, my PC and me, though I am toying with the idea of getting a lap top or notebook. Then I can venture outside my home office and still be able to write. I just have to get my arms around the financial commitment.
I spend more hours on the internet than I would have ever expected. I read, I write, I conduct business, I play games and I visit with friends and family. What I don’t do is utilize it to its fullest. I know there are probably so many technological tools that I am missing out on – especially for marketing my writing – but quite frankly I haven’t had the time (or patience) to learn.
When it comes to social media, I use Facebook and LinkedIn because I find them helpful for staying in touch with family, friends and colleagues. I’ve made new friends and reconnected with some that I have not been in touch with for over 20 years.
Twitter, on the other hand, drove me crazy after about six months. Not only did I have very few followers, I had no focus. And I really didn’t care if someone was making a PB&J for lunch. I’m not a celebrity who can say just about anything to rave reviews and cheering fans. I posted links to my articles, but because they didn’t necessarily appeal to everyone who followed me, my base of fans kept changing. As for…
All the Other Technological Advances
I have a cell, but I get more emails than calls. I don’t text. Since I’m online all day, it’s just easier to chat. Besides I’m a bowler and if you’ve ever seen how a thumb hole can pump up a bowler’s thumb like it’s on steroids, I’m not that agile.
I have friends who are 15 to 20 years younger than me who use their hand-helds to do everything from checking the weather and game scores to calculating and geo-caching. I don’t have the budget to buy all the extras and since I’ve lived without them, I don’t miss them. However, I do like when my friends use their technology because I indirectly benefit.
My husband and I were in Costco the other day and he asked one of the clerks about a CD player. With unrestrained astonishment the young man told us they don’t sell any, only MP3 players. Everybody downloads. I still enjoy my CDs as well as my old vinyl. We have a stereo with turntable that we listen to regularly. Heck, my husband even has an old 8-track player and the tapes that he occasionally plays. And I will hang onto my VHS recorder until it dies.
Listen, I come from a time when there were telephone party lines. If you don’t know what that is ask your parents or grandparents. Better yet, look it up on the internet. The fact is I think technology is amazing. But I use what I need and ignore the rest.
There may come a time in the future when I upgrade some of my technology, but for now I’m doing just fine. And I imagine that technology is doing just fine without me.