When it comes to technological innovations, we all move at our own pace. I have yet to make the move, for example, to the iPod. I know it’s great. I know it’s revamping lifestyles and overhauling the music industry and allowing Apple stockholders to retire early. I know it’s created fundamental and significant improvements to the ways we store and play music. It’s just, I got a couple thousand CDs layin’ around, and it’s not that tough to put them in the player and listen to them. Is that so wrong?
My cell phone is another example. It’s a simple unit, an old Nokia, about 15 generations removed from keeping up with what is currently hip on the superfly phone front. It works and isn’t screaming at me to be replaced. Therefore, it doesn’t get replaced. I experienced its outdated uncoolness recently, when a friend asked if he could borrow my phone, his being unavailable. His phone is one of those dazzling fliptops with a keypad, camera, tunes and video screen featuring automatic daily downloads of Desperate Sportscenter, so I mentally prepared myself for a mini-barrage of friendly-but-cruel jokes when I handed over my relic. “Hey,” he said kindly, “I used to have one of these.” There’s the set-up. “A pretty nice little phone.” Here it comes. “Makes an excellent decoration at the bottom of my aquarium.” And there ya go.
Another modernity I will always rate inferior is reading news online. It can get the job done in a pinch, and it certainly has its place, especially with breaking news. But, I’m sorry, there’s no way getting the morning news, sports and weather on a computer can compare with having a real newspaper in your hands. It’s not even close. It’s something I learned as a kid, back in the ’60s. Breakfast plus newspaper equals a rich, fulfilling life. This is one of those infrequent times where the old thing (newspaper) is less of a pain than the new thing (computer). Reading any newspaper online means that you’re constantly loading a story, then going back, re-loading another story, going back, re-loading a new story, ad infinitum. Bottom line—it sucks, even with high speed service. With an actual newspaper in your mitts, you just download directly from the paper to your head. No back buttons, no re-loads, and no ads to have to listen to while the story loads.
One techno-innovation I have embraced, though, is early voting. Hot damn, I am all about early voting. It’s one of the best things to develop here in the new millennium. No more having to stand around in some elementary school library, waiting in line behind a bunch of folks who are reading all 27 propositions on the ballot for the first time and trying to figure out where the hell they stand on each one. So yippee for early voting. If you haven’t made this move yet, what are you waiting for? Ask anyone who’s done it—you can’t help but feel so dang superior as you forever dodge those 6 p.m. “voter jams” on Election Day.