I don’t know when it happened exactly, or what changes occurred in me that I somehow failed to notice, but I have become a dinosaur. It isn’t the lack of formal qualifications that doomed me, or an unwillingness to adapt to the changing landscape in which I exist – but something fundamental has changed and it worries me.
Growing up I was always a gadget freak. Tomorrow’s World was a must see event in my house, and I always did my bit to keep abreast of new technology (or so I thought) as the eighties and nineties produced an ever more furious rate of computational power and general miniaturisation of any and every electrical gizmo that flooded onto the market.
Somewhere between meeting my wife twenty plus years ago and my youngest starting school this September I must have taken my eye of the ball. As the father of three children living in a house with five computers it has been my task to keep it all ticking over – I am Tech Guy, keeping the world safe and the home network running. But when I recently tried to check up on my daughters Facebook activity (my wife usually does it) I found the interface alien to me and the language might as well have been written in Arabic.
I find texting so tedious and difficult (my fingers seem to hit three letters at a time on the keypad) that I usually prefer to call as it takes less time out of my day – yet in the 1980’s my skills on the space Invader game with the rapid fire button and co-ordinated joystick movements were legendary amongst my peers.
Slowly, but surely my sphere of influence and pool of ‘Elder Knowledge’ is becoming eroded as the older two children are developing technical skills that already outstrip my own, and who’s manual dexterity leave me looking as if I am lacking opposable thumbs.
My desire to change my life and become a writer and novelist seemed to be a far more plausible aspiration with the advent of Kindle publishing. The software and processes required do not at first glance appear to present insurmountable mountains for me to climb, and indeed are (I think) within my capabilities. But having read various articles on the subject I now realise that an author today is expected to take a much bigger role in the publicity and promotion of his/her work.
So here I am. Learning to blog. I have as yet very little understanding of this website, or what tags are and how I can use them, or how to make use of the bewildering array of widgets available to brighten up my site. I just know that I need to be out there, even if I am a voice in the wilderness that nobody yet can hear.
Which brings me back to evolution. I can roll over, belly up and admit defeat, or I can evolve. It’s a simple choice really. I have to master, or at least become competent in this site both for the practise and for the promotion – and I know just how I am going to do it. I am fortunate enough to have my own team of Tech Kids in the house, children who don’t seem to have webbed hands and feet like their father.
I vividly remember a couple of years ago teaching my father to use an ATM at the age of 69 (him not me) and the pained look on the faces of the enormous queue that developed behind us as my father wrestled with task of recalling his PIN number, and hitting the digits in the correct sequence with only three attempts available.
‘Care in the Community‘ I had cruelly quipped to the waiting hordes at my poor fathers expense. I remember it now because I can foresee the lesson in humility that life is about to teach me, as I desperately try to shelter from the metaphorical meteor about to strike the earth and wipe my kind out.
But I am not gone yet. And while I still have pocket money to withhold amongst my repertoire of threats bullying and intimidation I may yet win the day and force them to help me. And if that fails? Well, there is always bribery and corruption.