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I was there for both.
From 5-to-8 years old, the whole notion of humanity’s technological brilliance was imprinted on my brain like that of a newborn gosling. I thought we were hot-wired stuff.
Little did I know how Life would one day model itself after Art. The kids who were weaned on Star Trek grew up to be inventors. One day our cell phones would resemble “communicators (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Communicator_%28Star_Trek%29)—” intentionally.
By parodying the character of Captain Kirk, William Shatner would rise from the ashes of Star Trek, striking the raw nerve (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Shatner%27s_Raw_Nerve) in everyone’s funny bone, to become the avuncular rogue-at-large of modern television.
When he hosted How William Shatner Changed The World (http://www NULL.imdb NULL.com/title/tt0814142/)—a 2-hour Discovery Channel documentary about how Star Trek influenced technology, I realized my generation created technological advancements of comic and dangerous proportions.
In the 1980’s, any computer (http://www NULL.computerhistory NULL.org/timeline/?category=cmptr) hard drive looked like a washing machine, and would have been a handy substitute for the anvil used in Wile E. Coyote’s (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Wile_E NULL._Coyote_and_Road_Runner) eternal mission to pancake Roadrunner.
In 1984, the original cell phone (http://www NULL.msnbc NULL.msn NULL.com/id/7432915/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/) was “a brick”, weighing 2 lbs., that cost a hefty four grand. An object that you could easily beat someone to a pulp with, it should’ve been classified as a lethal weapon requiring a license to carry.
Imagine stuffing one of those in little Elliot’s backpack so E.T. could phone home. No doubt, the famed bicycle never would have made it off the ground.
In my 20’s, the very notion that we’d communicate through our computers, phones, and a panoply of other i-gadgets, seemed about as likely as getting beamed up to the Land of the Giants (http://www NULL.imdb NULL.com/title/tt0062578/).
But the mass invasion of the Worldwide Web was only a decade away. And now, at the postnatal dawn of the 21st century, we are a global race of web-heads, addicted to our daily fix of internet feed.
Those who remember life BC (Before Computers) are a dying breed. Kids don’t crack books anymore.
Hard copies of Encyclopedia Britannica (http://www NULL.britannica NULL.com/) are on their way to the dust-encrusted shelves of the book museum. Soon you won’t find a youth who’ll believe that poor suckers called “traveling salesmen” once peddled them door-to-door.
In fact, these days, it’s hard to convince kids that in our childhood, we all walked to school, or were expected to entertain ourselves building forts and playing make-believe for an entire Saturday afternoon.
At 50, I’ve finally figured out that technology has a lot in common with foreign languages—if you don’t grow up speaking at least one of them, you’re unlikely to cotton on in your repining years.
My 5-year-old daughter can boot up her own computer, slap in a CD and begin playing an educational game. (At least content I’m still in charge of, but for how long?)
Poring over homework with the computer as our teaching aid, my 8-year-old cocks a puzzled eye-brow at me now and then and says: “Mom, you don’t even know how to do that?”
I’ve been waiting for the day when my technical “special needs” learning status would be exposed in all of its humble splendor.
And yesterday was the day. My son wanted me to play Pokemon cards with him. He sparked up his computer, and clicked on the online learning manual (http://www NULL.pokemon NULL.com/us/trading-cards/how-to-play/demo/).
After 5 minutes, my menopausal-hormone-infested brain seized up from all the “damage” inflicted by a miasma of “attacks” from evolved Stage 2 Pokemon with more than one “energy.”
“Son,” I said. “You need a PhD in Physics to figure this out!”
He laid on one of his “Mom, are you serious?” looks.
“Alex,” I said, fast beating my retreat, “I’m sorry, but there’s something you need to know, buddy.”
“Your mom is –gasp— Technically Challenged!”
Notes for this blog:
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.
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