When I was a young, pretty gay man in my mid 20’s in the early 80’s, one of the most hateful, awful labels you could apply to an older guy – which, at that time, was anyone in their 40’s and above – was “fossil.” For example, a catty gay man-child would say something like: “Look at that old fossil, out there dancing like he’s our age.”
Someone once counseled me to live the best and kindest life I could, for everything I put out would eventually come back to me. Now, I don’t actually remember ever labeling anyone a fossil but now I sure understand what it means. I am a fossil. Nothing bad has happened to me; no one has been unkind or cruel to me. I just realize more and more every day that time is indeed racing ahead and I may be becoming a relic from a previous time. Case in point, my ongoing challenge with computers (especially today).
I just spent probably an hour with my beloved Martin, trying to help him submit some pretty important documents he needs for school that are time-sensitive and, between the two of us, we wanted to smash the laptop on the floor. Now understand that Martin is SIGNIFICANTLY more computer/technology savvy than I, and even he was challenged and frustrated by some weird program that I am sure is really, really easy to use – if you have computer chips for brains! (Jeesh, see what I mean? Do people even say “computer chips” anymore?) Anyhow, with the combined effort of two smarter-than-average gents, the forms were eventually submitted and all is good. But it makes me wonder…
What happens to me when – God forbid – Martin is unavailable to decipher the cryptic language of technology? How the hell will I know how to cut, paste, insert, re-size, etc? Sure, go on and laugh but I have some serious concerns in that regard.
I joke a lot that when I initially began using AOL – yes, the original online server that all us “old” people used – I got on board at release 3.0 or something like that. When I left AOL, I had just been “energized” by release 9.2 or some ridiculous number like that. And you know why I left AOL? With each new release, with each dummy down from words to pretty icons that we just had to click, I got more and more frustrated and confused.
You know that old belief that one side of your brain is artsy and the other side is academic? Maybe there are really THREE sides, and the third side is where technology understanding resides. I think I only came with side one and two; I never got the third side “update.”
Funny thing is, I read the other day that children can’t tell time by looking at a clock; digital displays on their cell phones tell them the time. A clock face is like a foreign language to them. I had someone mention recently that they couldn’t remember how to make out a check because they only did online banking. Really? I used to joke about people that laughed when I said “record;” I know someone that has never, ever purchased music in any form other than via downloads. They have never owned a record, cassette, tape or CD. I’m not sure they even understand where music comes from. That’s just sad to me. And it all makes me think that becoming “fossilized” maybe isn’t so bad after all.