Two months ago, I didn’t know an iPad from an iPod. But now I do, thanks to my 14-year-old granddaughter, Abbie.
Abbie is my IT advisor. I call her when I have a technical question.
“Abbie,” I said in a call last week, “how do I know when my iPad is using wireless and when it’s using cellular?”
“Well, Granddad,” she said, “if it says LTE at the top, you’re using cellular.”
Of course, I didn’t know what LTE stood for, so I Googled it. Google thinks it stands for Long Term Evolution, which doesn’t tell me a thing. Or it could stand for Liquid Tension Experiment or Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium or Letter To Editor. I’m not getting anywhere with this.
Frankly, I should be embarrassed asking a 14-year-old about stuff I should know. But I’m not. I guess that when you reach a certain age, dumb questions aren’t dumb anymore.
Besides, several generations of technology separate Abbie and me. She knows Steve Jobs’ Apple; I know Adam’s apple. She grew up Googling; I grew up doodling. She grew up with a touch screen: touch the screen and get instant information. I grew up with the touch system: learn the home keys and type your own dang information. She grew up with digital; I grew up with Kodachrome.
Abbie probably doesn’t use all that Internet slang — you know, abbreviations like LOL (laugh out loud), ROFL (roll on floor laughing) and BRB (be right back). That’s good because if she used them on me, I wouldn’t understand. (Actually, I had to Google ROFL and BRB to get their meanings.) But if she said to me, “Root hog or die” or “That dog won’t hunt” or “Either fish or cut bait,” I’d know exactly what she meant.
In my defense, though, let me say that I am not technologically challenged in everything, just most everything. I do know how to download — or is it upload? — photographs to my computer. And I can make a PowerPoint presentation, even though my very first PowerPoint show — for a group of young newspaper reporters, unfortunately — was a disaster. I couldn’t get my laptop to talk to the projector, and none of my slides would show up on the screen. Have you ever seen a klutz try to tap dance on a table to keep his listeners’ attention?
Fortunately, what goes around comes around. And my upbringing in the non-technology era is coming around again. Typewriters actually are a hot item now. Sit-ins were popular in the 1960s, but now people are holding type-ins. Some folks actually like producing their own information directly onto a piece of paper. It’s called instant gratification. It’s called typing.
I happen to own a Remington portable typewriter that dates to the 1920s and an Underwood desk-type that weighs the same as a 1952 Ford transmission. Both need new ribbons, but I think they still work.
So here’s your chance, Abbie. My lessons are free to grandchildren.
— Hudgins, a former community newspaper editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.