Unless you are already in the thick of it, so to speak, technology can seem like opening an over-full closet that belongs to someone else. We open the door and an avalanche of unfamiliar things topple out onto our unsuspecting and unprotected heads.

Suddenly, we are getting swatted in the face with boxes and bags that seem to be labled in an almost familiar language. We think we know what a “gif” is, but some idiot forgot the t on the end. And let’s face it, ASCII sounds like something that requires a tissue. But to make it even worse, our kids and sometimes grandkids snicker at us for not knowing the lingo — we still think a “hard reboot” are the soles you put on combat boots.

Learning new things — especially things that have replaced the things we had to learn the first time around — can be both frustrating and infuriating. And it can get to the point, when it becomes too much trouble, that the best option seems to be to just throw up our hands and let someone else do it. And then there is the inevitable sense, the feeling of, inferiority or incompetence. How can people half our age — perhaps less — know more than we do. Well, the reality of it is, they don't; they just know different things.

The best way around it is to change the way we think of and define technology. Technology is less magic, and more of a practical tool. A hammer is, after all, technology. When the first caveman made a tool for cracking prehistoric nuts instead of simply bashing them with whatever happened to be lying around, technology was born. The phonograph was technology. The radio, 8-tracks, and cassettes were all technology. And the first person who use a Beta Max made everyone else feel like an idiot until they eventually learned about it themselves. But the truth of the matter is we arent' actually idiots.

Looking at technology as a tool takes some of the steam out of it, and we are less likely to get bulldozed by it. We can learn anything; if that weren't true, if we were all idiots, than how could we have descendants who seemed determined to impress us with how smart they are. We aren't idiots, no, but we can get lazy and think that it is too much trouble to learn new technology as it comes along. And we need to avoid that because if we don't then there is so much we will miss. And a lot of those things are amazing.

I played 8-tracks, and stuck pieces of cardboard in the corners of the player after they warped because I left them on the car seat in the hot sun (OK, maybe I am an idiot) — so I was overjoyed when cassettes came out. That is, at least until the player “ate” it and I had to use a pencil to wind the tape back onto the spools. Then when CDs came out I played (and ruined) those too. Each step got better though, and if I had just stopped at 8-tracks, I would be splitting my time between the vintage music store and hanging out in the alley replenishing my supply of cardboard. Good times.

So it’s time for all of us dinosaurs to stop shunning technology. I might not want an i-robot vacuum to clean my house, but a vacuum that doesn't weigh 50 pounds (I'm looking at you, Kirby) is pretty cool. Now my TV can play music, and I have never needed a pencil once. And hammers, well, I just bought a really cool battery operated nail gun — and it doesn't weigh much more than that hammer. And don't get me started on microwaves. Pizza rolls make new technology taste so good. I even hear there is a microwave devise for bacon, so it just keeps getting better.

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