Last week, I sold an iPod that had been sitting around my house for five years, to a 20-something grandson of a friend. I’d never figured out how to use it, and it was time to move on.
Two months ago, I went to buy a new smart phone and when the young man behind the counter started talking in a language I didn’t understand (not Spanish or French —I’m talking about the language known as “Digital Technology”), I stopped him with, “Look, just pretend I’m your grandmother and I know nothing about cell phones. Dumb it way down.” He gave me a puzzled look and wandered off to find someone else to help me.
I could go on with other stories about my technologically challenged life, but I think you get the picture. I’m old enough to remember our first TV in the suburban Cleveland home where I grew up. It was a blurry 10-inch in a gigantic wooden box that my dad used to watch Indians baseball games on. Today’s TVs are bigger than my childhood bedroom.
Most of my friends are Baby Boomers like me. And, as much as I love them, they’re as perplexed as I am when it comes to the technology era. “My digital oven went wacky last week,” my friend Mary told me yesterday. “I spent two hours on the phone with a technician, while my husband and grandkids waited for me to cook dinner.”
I feel Mary’s pain, I really do. I mean, it’s one thing to avoid hooking up the new portable air conditioner I bought last week, but another thing entirely when technology actually prevents us from nourishing our family.
It’s not that I’m intimidated by machines — well, maybe, just a little — but rather that I’m “technology aversive.” Frankly, I’d rather clean my toilet with a toothbrush than sit down with the microwave oven owner’s manual. I avoid anything that requires me to actually interface with machines.
And, don’t get me started on the all-in-one printer I bought two months ago. The owner’s manual is — you guessed it — online! In order to connect it to my computer, not only would I have to access the manual online, but then I’d have to actually figure out how to hook the machines together, while on the computer, to boot! (I’m getting a migraine, just thinking about it.)
Further, not only am I technologically inept, but I’m also single, so I can’t rely on a spouse to help me figure these things out. (I know, I should be more independent — Girl Power!) And, it’s a good thing I drive a car that predates the digital age, or else I’d be sitting at home a lot.
Say, does anybody know a school kid looking for a summer job helping a technophobe solve her technological issues? I’d send out a mass email to seek help, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to send mass emails.
— Debbie L. Miller
Debbie L. Miller is a Brooklyn, New York, writer of humor, plays, monologues, memoir, essays, feature articles, news stories, web content and short fiction. The week of Trump’s inauguration, she wrote 110 limericks, which she maintains was preferable to going into therapy. She has a background in stand-up comedy and improvisation and is a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. She is the winner of the 2017 Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction and Nonfiction.