Boomer Bust

Last week I was watching a couple things on TV. That’s my thing. Unless I am watching a movie or streaming something with my wife, I am a channel hopper. Why watch one thing when I can feed my ADHD with multiple things that I can scattershot into my gray matter? I was watching the Milwaukee Brewers flutter away another chance at getting into the playoffs by seeing if they could leave more men on base than the castaways on Gilligan’s Island had chances to be rescued. As an Amazon Prime subscriber, I also like to peek in on Thursday Night Football.

There’s the rub. If I am the protagonist in this story, Amazon will be the antagonist. Amazon represents technology, and I represent a dismal schlub who tangles with technology all too often. Who wins? It’s usually me, sometimes a draw, and there are times that I lose. Regardless of the outcome, I am usually diminished by the skirmish. Last night I lost. It’s not that big of a deal really, though. I didn’t get to see any of the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins game. Wait, I did see Teddy Bridgewater, the substitute quarterback for the Dolphins throw a couple footballs out of bounds from his backside, with somewhere less than 1:30 left in the contest. The Bengals were safely in the lead, and won, 27-15.

I had attempted, throughout the evening, to tune into Amazon Prime’s telecast of the game. I got to their home page and was greeted with some audio from the game, some closed captioning, and a view of some of Amazon Prime’s streaming selections. No matter what I did, I was not able to access the live broadcast, with pictures, of last night’s game. It became frustrating because the Brewers gave up a 2-0 lead late in the game on a grand slam and then failed to mount any challenge and lost, 4-2. I was looking for solace and distraction.

I even posted on Facebook about my frustration, which only served to label myself as a whiny, technology-challenged baby boomer. The NFL for sure doesn’t care about me. Amazon doesn’t care about me. Now if I made a Tik Tok video with some colorful, clever jabbing at both of those mighty billion-dollar behemoths, I might have gotten some satisfaction out of that. If those videos that I will never create would have gotten a couple million likes and shown Amazon and the NFL in a negative light, I might have gotten a lawyerly sounding apology with a gift certificate for a pizza and some bubble bath from Bed, Bath, and Boredom… but none of that shall come to pass.

A Tik Tok video would require another tussle with technology. My forehead hasn’t healed from pounding it into the wall last night. So, I will rustle up some strong-sounding words here and gather my peeps at BC 360° for some moral support and try to leave last night as a bad memory.

You see, I have aged out of one of their key demographics. I think it probably happened a long time ago but having to look it straight in the eye in the cold light of day (it’s fall here in Wisconsin, most all the days, and nights will have a cold aspect to them…) makes that realization poignant and sad for me.

It’s hard to come to terms with not being a part of a key demographic anymore. It’s hard enough to get anyone to care about you no matter where you fall on the spectrum of demographics but getting old is something that most of us will have to learn to deal with.

I suspect that I will continue to play Don Quixote to the windmills of technology until I can’t anymore. I am a foot soldier (thumb soldier, maybe, or probably index finger soldier… yes) in the last generation that cut its teeth in the world prior to technology taking over. If I ever get to détente with technology, I should turn my attention to building useful analogies.

I am not totally anti-technology. It’s wonderful and amazing and opens our world to many great and wonderful things. My daughter and her family live in Saudi Arabia – technology allows us to talk to them whenever we want. They are eight time zones away, and we can sit in our living room, and they sit in their house, and we can see each other, and we can talk in real-time. That is amazing in terms that I cannot fathom or accurately pay tribute to.

Yesterday, I went to the post office to mail a package to my daughter and her family, and I had a positively excellent interaction with Gail, who works at the post office that I went to. This morning, I gave Gail and that postal station a sterling review on my phone. Viva Technology! I was glad to be able to do something that Gail’s superiors might see and know that she is great and helped me a great deal.

But having to deal with technology in everything and as an elderly dog, (vintage 1958), technology – for all its virtues, conveniences, and efficiency… is exhausting. Every day I must learn a new trick. And that’s not the worst, but some of these new tricks I must learn have to do with unlearning stuff that I just learned yesterday and was just starting to get the hang of… it’s not easy. It’s not easy to cop to this, but I live in Wisconsin, and there is a healthy (no wait, it’s rather unhealthy) drinking culture here, and all this technology does, besides making my life easier, is making my life shorter. Because it makes me want to drink more. But having a buzz makes it easier to watch my life ebb away, I guess…

Here is how I described this phenomenon to someone else. The generations after us have had a steady diet of technology and it’s part of the subculture and it’s expected that you have to know it, master it and use it. I look at it like this: Every time a new piece of technology comes along, I dread it. It means that I will once again have to demonstrate, sometimes in full view of a group of others, snickering, pointing, and enjoying my misfortune. For you youngsters, what if there was something that required you to have to write in cursive using only your elbows? That’s what it feels like for us with having to learn how to use technology. We might get it, but it ain’t gonna be easy, or pretty. And we’ll be tired and cranky afterward, no matter whether we were successful or not.

So that’s my rant. I hope that it doesn’t make y’all hear “Get off my lawn,” as I carried on. I was just trying to explain how it feels to live in the world right now.

And today, no one in Florida cares. Huge hugs, prayers, and all the best to all of them. Our problems are nothing compared to theirs.


Tom Dietzler
Tom Dietzler
Lifelong, proud somewhat strident Wisconsinite, I love my state and love to sing its praises. A bon vivant and raconteur, lover of history, literature and good conversations. Laughter and music are salves that I frequently am applying to my soul. I have spent time (too much) in manufacturing and printing and have found great joy in my current position as director of operations at a large church in the same area where I grew up. Husband to Rhonda and father of two adult children Melanie and Zack, I’m the constant companion of my five-year-old Lab, Oliver, who is my muse to a lot of my stories. I’m a fan of deep conversation and my interests are in learning and gaining wisdom, so in the last few years I have become and less politically vocal, and hopefully more respectful and open-minded. Rhonda and I sold our home in 2018, bought a condo and have traveled a bit more, golfed a bit more and are enjoying life a bit more. If you take the time to get to know me, prepare yourself for an invite to the 30th state to join the union, a gem located in the upper Midwest, full of beautiful scenery formed by the glaciers, with lots of lakes and trees and gorgeous scenery, and the nicest people that you’d ever want to meet.

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  1. I was derelict in my neglect of thanking Dennis Pitocco for this platform. I love what we are able to share here, my friend, blessings to you and your lovely wife on your travels, and continued prayers and good wishes for all your fellow Floridians.

    • Always a pleasure to share your wonderful storytelling/keen insights on the world around us –and with a nice dash of good old-fashioned humor, my friend. This is one of the many blessings of that pesky technology – and one that we treasure.

  2. I love, love, love your writing, Tom. This was worthy of me popping back onto social media for a brief stint. Trying being a woman in your mid-life these days… You become invisible AND can’t figure out how to make things work. The other day I was struggling to figure out how to stream my Peloton video on the TV (something I had done a dozen times before). I beg Tim for help. He comes downstairs, pushes “enter” and everything worked fine. The shame!

    • Ah, Kimberly, the joy that I feel whenever I see anything from you… it’s another fabulous thing about technology. Without technology, you and I so many others would never have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting. I will forever be thankful for gifts like LinkedIn and #NoLongerVirtual and the gifts that technology keeps bringing. At some point I need to cease and desist from all the pouting and grimacing over technology, and like visits to the dentist and colonoscopies every five years, make peace with the necessity that accompanies all the joys and miracles that technology affords us. As that crappy saying goes, “It is what it is…”

      No one promised that this life would be all cupcakes and petunias, so we just have to do our best to brave what certainly isn’t going to change. I should get going on my great American novel so that I can hire some peep to be my IT person. That would be awesome, as I haven’t had an IT peep since we became empty nesters… If I could’ve seen into the future back in the 90’s, we might have chosen to be like the farm families of old – keep having kids so that you have some free farm hands for a while. If I had a dozen or so kids maybe a few would be around yet to handle some of my admin before they shuffle me off to elderly housing… if’s and buts, I know, but it’s tempting to think about.

      Always lovely and uplifting to hear from you, thank you for gracing this conversation.