Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Try to Remember"

When I first began working (back in the Dark Ages), it was still the days of mimeographs, typewriters, adding machines, Dictaphones, and carbon paper. At the time, they all seemed like great ways to accomplish the work that needed to be done. They were state-of-the-art business machines. I learned how to be an office professional in that environment and my salary showed it! I thought I was well-paid ~~ I earned the grand total of $2.50 an hour! Honest!

I didn't have much to recommend me. I was a high school graduate, with a few college credits, but that was about it. No advanced degree, no business school certificate, nothing to "prove" I could do the work. Times were different then; I don't think anyone even checked to be sure I actually had a diploma. What I did have was a good work ethic, a willingness to learn, and the ability to write a simple, declarative sentence with all the words spelled correctly!

It must have been enough, because I kept doing essentially the same kind of work for the next 31 years. At the time I retired after this very long career, things had changed! Boy, had they ever! No mimeographs, now its typewriters, now its adding machines, now its calculators and Excel....and no one even knows what a Dictaphone is anymore!

All along the way technology kept changing almost constantly. In order to keep up with it all we had to keep learning and transitioning into the new stuff and one by one the old standbys disappeared. Who needs carbon paper? Just print out multiple copies of your correspondence and send one to everyone in the company from the janitor to the President! Forget posting announcements on the bulletin board down the hall, just send an e-mail or better yet an e-vite! Its a whole new world.

Outside of the office, computers gradually became a way of life for more and more people everyday. Each new innovation brought more applications to reel us in. How did we ever survive before email? I haven't held a deck of cards in my hand since the advent of Online Solitaire. Way too many folks, kids especially, rely on Wikipedia for research (~~ put those poor door-to-door enclyclopedia salesmen right out of business!)

So here we all are. Pretty much wrapped up in on-line games, on-line shopping, on-line information, e-mail, on-line headlines, blogs, You Tube, Twitter, FaceBook, and millions of other ways to wile away your free time, and then some. Before you know it, your eyes rarely leave your computer screen for anything other than the real "necessities" of life. (If there are people out there who actually take their laptops into the bathroom with them, I really don't want to know!!)

I'm retired now and I have lots of time to do the things I've always wanted to do! So what do I do with all this time? You know the answer to that. I'm here -- writing a blog that no one reads....playing a make-believe game with make-believe old friends I haven't seen in decades whose lives have no particular bearing on my life.

We can't help it, you know. The technology is there and its easy to use. Its even actually fun sometimes. But as one of the true dinosaurs still walking the earth, I can say with great sincerity, that we all need to try to remember that it wasn't always like this.

Some years ago I read a science fiction short story (sorry, I can't recall the author or the title) about a society eons into the future. The story told of a civilization in which computers were in charge did just about everything. The discovery of a young man who said he could Add Figures in his Head was astounding! Not just simple things like one + one, but complex multi-digit numbers. No one believed him. They said it couldn't be done; only computers could add. He was tested against the computer and he always got the right total! The powers that be said it was a trick, or sorcery, or a fluke, or a lucky guess. He tried to explain how he did it, but he was never believed. Impossible! Man was not capable of such a feat. They called him names, they tried to discredit him, they tried to hide him, they treated him as a threat to civilization and ultimately, they had him killed. No one knew or could remember that Man had created the machines and once, everyone knew how to add and how to do all sorts of miraculous things ~~ before they let the computers take over because the technology was there, it was easy, and it was even actually fun sometimes.

Try to remember. It's important. Really!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sending me the link to this, Mellodee. Seems like we are on the same wavelength!


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