While writing last week’s column, the page suddenly shrunk to half the screen.
Ironically, it happened soon after I spilled a cold drink onto my keyboard, and I’m sure nephew Rusty will soon show me the quick-fix keystroke to remedy the situation.
We live in a wondrous age of overnight technological advances that has no ceiling. That’s all well and good, but to some in my age-advanced demographic, it’s a torturous descent, pushing us further down into the bowls of alienation, irrelevance and scornful derision.
At 67, I’ve grown tired of 20-somethings saying, “It’s simple; just do this and that and click on that and this. What, are ya stupid?”
Stupid? Far from it. Uneducated? Bingo. I struggled with arithmetic in high school, but showed some flair at typing, which was an “elective,” (goofing off class).
When I began writing in the early 90s, I cranked out each column on an Underwood typewriter. These know-it-all kids today would be lost trying to insert a blank sheet of paper, much less correct a mistake with a tiny sheet of “onionskin.” There was no hitting “escape” on one of them babies! So forgive me, techno-freak kids, if I’m a little slow navigating our fantasy football site. It’s far from second-nature.
During that first year of column writing, I had scarcely heard of computers. Good ol’ Mick Wiest, ex-Cody High writing teacher, led me kicking and screaming to my first. I bought a cheapie from his brother and Mick gave me a crash course, during which I spent a lot of time scratching my head, and later, sucking my thumb in the fetal position.
As I struggled mightily with a column, I called Mick on my home phone and while twisting the cord in knots, snapped, “I’m about ready to throw this stinking computer out the window!”
It was Mick who invented an art called reverse psychology, and as my griping continued, he said nonchalantly, “That’s fine, you can go back to that typewriter and forget about saving hours on end. I’m sure my brother would give you a refund.”
“Fine then, I’ll keep trying” I snarled. In no time at all, maybe a couple years, I was copying and pasting and moving paragraphs around with a surprising amount of ease. Now, all these years removed from my typewriter, I’ve probably knocked five hours off my column-writing time. If not for that pesky 525-word, crippling limit, it’d take less than an hour. Thankfully I found that “word-count” icon so I don’t have to count in my head.
Now, my people and I are expected to transfer all that newly-learned technology into a tiny cell phone and the frustration continues. Rusty is on call 24/7 for my next, “I’m STUCK again” solicitation. Downloads, uploads, apps, signatures without a pen … it’s killing us!
You might say, “Take it easy; it’s not the end of the world,” but Suzi Johnson often reminds me that 25 years ago, I wrote how computers/internet indeed would be a major player ushering in end times. You ever heard of the latest, nefarious capability “Deepfake?” It makes cloning Dolly the sheep look like basic arithmetic.