Trying to keep from being run over

Published 11:01 am Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I’m not all that comfortable in cyberspace, but sometimes one has to travel a little faster than comfort would call for. It’s like those trips in and through Atlanta.

There are six lanes of traffic and they all seem to be full. If you get stuck in the middle lanes, you’d better be prepared to “keep on truckin” at about 65 miles per hour or else you might find an 18-wheeler about a silly millimeter off your back bumper.

Pay it no mind.

Email newsletter signup

Neither should you be surprised at the lady who zooms by you with one hand occupied by a cell phone and the other hand somehow applying make-up. I guess she’s controlling the car with her toes.

I’m saying that if you aren’t prepared to keep up with the traffic, well, get prepared to be run over!

That’s the way I feel sometimes when I hear of all the new-fangled opportunities that come our way in these days of iPods and blackberries. I still don’t know exactly what an iPod does. At least I know about blackberries, although the number of bushes has diminished greatly with the demise of the fence row.

I am sure all of you have heard the term cyberspace. It may seem like a new word and even confusing, but it is simply the latest in our continuing journey of communicating with each other. Our communication devices have come a long way since they began with the mouth way back in the Garden of Eden.

Adam said to Eve, “Hey, what’s for dinner?”

She gave him an apple. You can see the connection between then and now when you consider that the iPod is the latest gadget from Apple Inc.

The mouth part of communicating came easy for me. Proof of that would come in elementary school when I would consistently get a “C” grade in the area of deportment. I’m not sure that students are graded in deportment these days.

I made the mistake of asking my teacher why I got a “C” in deportment when all other grades were “A.”

I asked her, “What does that low grade in deportment mean?”

She looked at me with distress and said, “It means you talk too much!”

I never explained deportment to my parents, although they probably knew how much I loved to run my mouth.

Besides my mouth, I guess the first communicative device we received out in the country on Stagecoach Road was a telephone. It was not a wireless model. It had a rotary dial, was black, and we were on a party line. Our ring was one long and one short. That must have been around the time John F. Kennedy was elected president and we still have the same number.

Advances in communications were much slower in those days. I think it took a decade before we changed phones and were given a touch-tone phone and got a private line. We also might have gotten one of those curly cue lines.

When I went to college, computers were just coming on the scene. They were nothing like the desktops and notebooks of today. It’s amazing how powerful our modern machines are. Back in the early days of computers, entire and large rooms would be needed for the hardware and only large organizations like the Pentagon or universities would have access to computers.

Today, my laptop computer, bought for less than $1,000, would have more technical abilities than the most powerful computers of yesterday.

As far as telephones, the only wireless cell phone known would have looked like a wrist watch on the arm of one of my favorite cartoon characters, Dick Tracy. Nowadays, just about everyone has access to small, wireless telephones.

Even Dick Tracy, the greatest detective of all time, would be surprised at all the gadgetry contained in those little phones we carry around. We’ve come a long way, for sure.

I’m traveling down this communicative road today and began by admitting that it’s a little overwhelming at times. I am basically a simple man and not prone to changing with the times; particularly when the times change so rapidly. But as I said in my opening sentence, if one doesn’t stay up with the flow of the traffic, one is likely to be left behind.

I had to be dragged into the computer age. I wasn’t necessarily kicking and screaming, but it was either come into the modern age or stay on the outside looking in.

Marriage had a lot to do with it. Donna Sue has always been far ahead of me when it comes to technology. She had a computer when I was still using a pencil. She was e-mailing people when I felt that it was best to talk person to person.

Now she has created an account for me on something called Facebook. The account was not even an hour old when I found that my daughter had written on my wall.

She said, “Yay, you have a facebook. Now we can stay in touch.” I haven’t heard from her since.

My niece wrote, “Uncle Lynn, I can’t believe you have a facebook.” She said it as if I was some old fogy. Actually, anyone who would use the term, old fogy, has got to be one!

Another wrote and said, “Thanks for inviting me to be your friend.” I hardly knew her.

I wrote them all back as if I was the pro at all this stuff. The year is 2009 and I have a facebook. I barely know what that means, but I sure am glad to hear from all those folks! As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.