MOULTRIE — So this guy came up to me and unloaded on me about computers. For a moment, I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t invent computers nor had I stolen his.
I think he was mad at the world because it was moving so fast. I remember when I was in college people on LSD thought the world was moving too fast and they would hold onto things so they wouldn’t fall off. But I knew this person wasn’t using. He was just mad, and I was handy.
He left little room for interpretation that he hated computers. He wanted to “remember when.” Well, I guess at times we all do that to some extent. But the fact is, change happens. As someone has pointed out, change is inevitable except in vending machines.
I tried to explain to this fellow that computers are just innovations like the tractor, the automobile and trolling motors. They are not only here to stay, they will get even faster and their applications will increase tremendously.
And I told him right up front that I wasn’t a computer expert but that I use one every day in my work, mostly as a word processor. I grew up in the newspaper business using an old Underwood typewriter with most of the letters worn off the keys. We bought “white out” by the quart. Now it’s so nice just to hit the delete button and not have the ribbon hang up. And I’ve often wondered what life would have been like in college if Google had been around back then.
I’ve talked to people who fear computers. I think they have a perception that the computer might steal their soul or cause them to become sterile.
One day a woman called me and said she had been reading about computer viruses and wanted to know if she could catch a virus from a computer.
At first I thought she was joking. Then I realized she was very serious.
Now back to my original complainer. I assumed that he was upset because so much of the communication world today is going digital. And telling him that “this is the world we live in” apparently offered little comfort. He said he wasn’t ever going to use a computer
So I asked him what model car he drove. It was a late model sedan, and I explained to him that it was computerized. I also noted that much of his medical care was linked to computers and so were many other facets of his life.
But because he didn’t interact with them directly, then he wasn’t upset about those, except that he was tired of putting a piece of tape over the “check engine light.”
I told him he might be surprised how fascinating computers could be if he sought instruction.
Kids today are growing up with computers. There are plenty of youngsters who know much more about a computer than many adults. And yes, computers can malfunction. So can electric can openers.
Now I’m not saying that if you don’t learn something about computers you will be totally left behind. But you might get a bit dizzy watching the rest of the world fly by.
Dwain Walden is editor and publsiher of the Moultrie Observer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.