I had all the technology I needed as a young, adventurous boy growing up. I was armed with a flashlight, a ruler and a magnifying glass. I even had a calculator by the time I was 12. My friend Todd and I connected tin cans with string and pretended they were walkie-talkies. You could actually sort of hear one another, and, at the same time, your ear smelled like tomato soup.
We could get four channels on our TV with rabbit-ear antennas, but it was great. My favorite shows were “Andy Griffith” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” I never knew when the “Andy” episodes went to color, because our TV was black and white. There was always a great show on.
Now, people have a TV in nearly every room in their house. There are hundreds of channels, and hardly anything ever worth watching. For eight bucks a month, you can even stream all the movies you want to your TV or mobile device. With my earbuds pushed in tightly, I can ride my bike and watch a TV show on my iPod while nearly being hit by a car and never know it.
Alas, it is a different day. Life revolves around iPhones, iPods, iPads, Blackberries and “smart phones.” These devices don’t come with an owner’s manual, only a web address where you can download and print the manual in 14 languages.
And…you can download an app (application) for ANYTHING!
You can sit and listen to a singing cat. There’s an app that simulates bacon cooking. You can locate where you are and see how far you are from where you want to be. Instead of sitting around the fireplace, you can just download a fire and watch it burn. If you’re scared to ask someone out on a date, there’s an app that will do that.
You can select security cameras from random public buildings across the U.S. and view what’s going on there. Think about it. Who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon watching people you don’t know walk through the lobby of an office building you’ve never been to? You can squash ants, cut ropes, catapult birds at some pigs. You can even slash and splatter fruit just like a true ninja warrior. After all, this is America.
My iPhone has several calculator apps from which to choose. My favorite is called the “Vintage Calculator.” You guessed it. It looks EXACTLY like the one I grew up with. Perhaps adding and subtracting haven’t really changed all that much over the years.
I found an app that can track how long you keep your finger in a static position on the touchscreen. You can later use the data to plug into a spreadsheet app and chart precisely how much of your life is being wasted. There’s even an app that simulates a tin can with string.
You can use this handy, all-in-one piece of techno-wizardry as a mirror, a flashlight, a ruler or a magnifying glass. You can start your car with it. Change your channels with it. You can even transfer money from your bank account and pay your bills with it.
Talking on the phone is a thing of the past when you can now LIVE YOUR LIFE on this smart device. No need to go to church, just watch the podcast. Put the tithe on your credit card and punch it in. Order your pizza online and have it delivered by the end of the preacher’s closing prayer. If he’s not finished by noon, close the app.
This is all to make life simpler…but I thought life was simple back then.
Yesterday, I downloaded an app to tell me how far and how fast I run, but I still won’t be able to outrun technology.
However, I am slightly ahead of my friend, Bill Gaither, who at age 75 is learning how to text on his cell phone. His first text simply said, “I am learning to text – Dill.”
For his birthday, the guys all pitched in and got Bill an iPad. He kept it two weeks and traded it in for a heating pad.
Now that’s funny!
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