COMPUTERS OFFER THE "WRITE" STUFF
Sometimes it's a bit difficult for us old-timers to keep up with even a few of the changes that this modern world has to offer. And this computer I am using is one example.
When personal computers first became popular, I was tempted to give one a try. I had the feeling that I might be missing out on something. But I didn't know whether I wanted to spend the money necessary to get involved. A few acquaintances warned me that learning to operate a computer would soon take up all of my spare time. On the other hand, most of my "writing friends" urged me to hurry up and "get with it."
All of my family members felt the same way. A daughter and her family gave me an old PC that they no longer used. We boxed it up and brought it home, all the way from the West Coast. I decided that with a few instruction books and manuals, I should be able to figure out how to operate it. And the great learning process began. Occasionally, it was interrupted by periods of enormous frustration, and even punctuated in rare instances by choice bits of profanity. But, for the most part, things went well. Maybe an old dog can be taught new tricks after all.
Eventually, the old computer died. The family immediately demanded that I begin shopping for a new one, and flooded me with advice as to what I needed. "No, you won't be happy with anything smaller than a 17 inch monitor," etc.
The new machine arrived, and the learning process began anew. I found out all about word processing, cutting and pasting, checking and correcting my spelling. The computer saved so much time and made writing so easy that I soon hated even the thought of using my once-beloved old electric typewriter. Next, everyone demanded to know when I was going to tackle the Internet. "How are we all going to keep in touch with each other if your aren't equipped to send and receive e-mail?" "Well, maybe after I get better acquainted with this new equipment," was my hesitant reply. But a visiting son-in-law wouldn't take "wait" for an answer.
"How do you send your newspaper columns down to the TH?" he asked. "With e-mail, all it would take is a single click of the mouse and they would be on their way. They would be down in Dubuque in a minute or two." He picked up the phone, made some calls, and then physically connected my computer to the phone line. And I've been halfway busy, and downright amazed, ever since.
We hear regularly from all of the sons and daughters, their spouses, the grandchildren, and a lot of nieces and nephews. We also hear from a number of old friends and people I once worked with, along with quite a few new friends and acquaintances, I keep in close touch with a number of other writers. Occasionally, I hear from people in distant parts of the country who have found this column on the Internet. Now and then, there is even a message from someone in a foreign country.
And, at times, I am almost covered up with jokes. Now and then, a young person will proudly send me a "new" joke that I first heard, word for word, in the barbershop or the pool hall 60 years ago or more. I am still amazed that I can e-mail this column to the TH, and often get, several minutes later, a reply that tells me that it has arrived at its destination.