I know I am going to sound like an “old guy” here but I seem to remember the same thing happened as shown by Mr. Stahler’s cartoon above with math. I was in college when the first calculators were invented so I remember the hours and hours I spent in my grade school days learning multiplication and long division. Although I was somewhat proficient at it I was never that keen on math so memorizing the multiplication tables was not a favorite thing for me but I did learn them. My teacher drilled me back and forth on them.
When I went to college to get an engineering degree the math got quite a bit harder. It could not be done in your head anymore so I purchased my trusty slide rule. This was a bamboo stick with a sliding center rail with numbers all over it that somehow gave answers to things like logarithms and such. As I was about to graduate the calculator was born. The original one could only do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It would be a few years before my trusty slide rule was replaced. I remember the furor this little device caused in the school system. Teachers seemed to be frustrated that a kid now had something that eliminated the need for all that memorization. In fact for the first decade or so of its existence they were banned from the classroom during testing times. It would be years before they found common acceptance among elementary school teachers.
Of course spelling was the next elementary school chore that was tackled by the techie crowd. The first spelling checkers were available soon after the Macintosh and PCs were invented. They were not as sophisticated as they are now but they did catch the grossest errors. Of course now they seem to be able to correct just about any word you type and many go on to look at syntax and sentence structure and give their recommendations in that area.
With the recent introduction of the iPhone 4S we have an app called Siri. It seems you can ask Siri just about any question and it will come up with an answer. I would not be at all surprised that Siri could actually do what is shown in this cartoon! That brings up another difficulty for the education crowd. What will they teach Junior now that he seems to have all the answers available to him via these gadgets? Is there anything that he needs to just keep in his head? Of course there are all kinds of answers to that question but I will leave that for future posts or maybe some of your comments.
Yes, even we seniors should embrace most changes in our lives. For one thing it keeps our times on earth interesting. For another it keeps us out of potentially harmful ruts we tend to get into. Change seems by nature to be something that humans adamantly resist. We tend to most often fear it rather than embrace it. This fact leads to nothing but varying degrees of misery in our lives. Change is going to happen whether you want it to or not; that is just a fact of life. How we handle it is what is important.
As I have said before I am just one of those people who gets bored easily so change is an often welcome visitor in my life. It offers new challenges and new opportunities to experience different things. Of course, not all change is good; some of it in fact can be quite detrimental! Where that is the case it is up to each of us to make sure that it is stifled as quickly as possible. But for the most part change is just a result of moving from one moment to the next.
One of the things that is changing in my life is that I am now officially a Mac guy once again. I have shed my corporate skin of Microsoft Windows computer and have rejoined the Mac crew of my origins. It has been almost twenty years since I was forced to the PC world by the corporate hierarchy. I grudgingly gave up my Mac then but now that I am free from that world I choose to return to a friendlier and more enjoyable computing experience. A lot of new lessons must be learned in this process but that is what makes my life interesting.
For those of you seniors who are not yet on-board with this new electronic world I can definitely tell you that you are missing out on some really good changes in your life. Yes, person-to-person contact still remains a very vital part of the human existence but the things we can now accomplish via the internet and other electronic sources will keep us connected with the outside world which of course includes our friends, both past and present, and relatives. Isolation has historically been an enormous detriment to senior citizens. That doesn’t have to be the case now. You can stay connected to the events of the world going on around you even if you have difficulty getting out of the house. If you can’t afford a new computer try one of the many second-hand shops around. I would suggest you get a Mac but a PC is better than nothing. :-) Get one of your grandkids to help you if you need it; they would be tickled pink to help you.
Don’t be a grumpy old soul who constantly grips about how the world is different from when you were a kid.