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.