It’s funny, you know, when I think back on it. Seventy years ago, I was ten. My world was the neighborhood. Several blocks of people that all had names and homes and in some cases kids. I played with a lot of them. It was a safe place because all those people looked out for each other. It was blue collar. No one had much, but everyone made do. And they all looked out for each other. That wasn’t the fun part, because bad news usually made it home as fast as you did.
I always thought of myself as a good boy, good being a sliding scale. I didn’t get into a lot of trouble and I respected my parents. I mean, I listened to what they said, and knew what I could and couldn’t do like hit Sally Walsh when she hit me because she was a girl. But, I am sure I could have been better. I climbed trees in dangerous locations even though I had been told not to. And I explored a vacant “haunted” house, when I had been told not to. And I made an inner tube raft down in the swamp and rowed it out into the river, even though I wasn’t supposed to be down there. I smoked (secretly) when I was fifteen and tried my first alcohol at sixteen. Those were the drugs of our day. I thought I was cool. But since I wasn’t doing anything illegal, in my rationale, I was a good boy
I never had kids of my own, so I cannot even imagine what my folks thought. I had some discussions with my Dad. Not discussions per se, as I didn’t get to say anything. My folks never hit me, They didn’t have to. My Dad crushed me one time by simply saying “do you know how disappointed I am in you”? That was where the respect part came in. I never wanted to hurt my parents. I just couldn’t resist testing the waters. Seventy years later, I still can’t. Must be a gene thing.
I guess by today’s standards, I didn’t go too far astray. I look around me and I see a generation that is highly self absorbed with another one right behind it. You reap what you sow so they say. Today’s kids live in a much different environment then the one I lived it. They are surrounded by advantages that we never even dreamed of, but I don’t envy them that. I think to some degree this abundance of artificial intelligence has had a detrimental effect on our ability to think, to calculate. Hell, to add and subtract. It has become an addiction. The more it does for us, the less we do for ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to return to the old days. I too have become acclimated to a lot of the trappings of today. Can’t help it. You have to move on. But I refuse to give up my right to think for myself. I cannot bring myself to submit totally to the ‘push one for English’, ‘dinging’, ‘beeping’, ‘at the sound of the tone’ world we now occupy. Even my car is smarter then I am. I guess that’s called getting old. Just another old fart that still swears that he had to walk five miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways. A senior citizen that would rather complain about today then try to keep up with it. Maybe I am. Maybe I just liked it when I used technology instead of it using me.
Now. Where did I leave my tablet. There’s a new audio book I want to listen to.