Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Non-techies unite!  After my last blog on my ineptness with hooking up cable boxes, several “Amens” indicated we are a larger group than I anticipated.  In a world where many want their bells and whistles to be better than your bells and whistles, we “non-techies” don’t want ‘em, don’t need ‘em, don’t care. 

The last time I bought a new cell phone, it included a camera and text messaging.  Of course, I had to pay extra for those functions, but I didn’t have any option.  It took some arguing, but finally they agreed to disable the camera and text messaging so I wouldn’t have to pay for it needlessly.

“What does your phone do?” seems to be the frequent conversation everywhere.  Those of us “nons” don’t care.  It’s freeing actually.  Undoubtedly, the reason we don’t care is that we can’t figure out how to operate them.  We’ll not admit that, don’t you know.  As one friend shared, “My self-esteem is steadier if I don’t try to turn things on.”  Can I get an AMEN?  She continued, “My cell phone is so old it looks like what people now call a ‘base unit.’  My older grandchildren asked me not to bring it out in front of their friends.”  So why does she want such an antique?  “It makes calls and takes calls, which is exactly what I expect of it.  I don’t want it to take pictures, send or receive text messages or show me how to drive to places for which I have only an address.

A doctor in town doesn’t have e-mail, or a cell phone, or a fax. His office has an answering machine.  Even I was frustrated in trying to contact him about a community event. Yet, I found he shared my feelings – he doesn’t care.  Much of the world has difficulty understanding this. 

Please don’t misinterpret my disdain of bells and whistles.  I’ve said it before.  I do like technology.  Years ago, the rage was pagers.  I went to parties where it seemed a contest to see who was the most important.  The person who was paged the most won.  You need to realize that they’re the only ones keeping score.  It’s hard to lose doing that.   One Saturday night we were at a pretty pretentious event.  Most of the men were wearing pagers and frequently would excuse themselves, presumably to return a vital, lives-depend-on-this call.  I suspect some were just going to the bathroom.  I didn’t have a beeper and had no plans of getting one.  Not to be outdone, I went to my car and returned to the party with my garage door opener clipped on my belt.  I promise you, no one said a thing, even though it was evident some noticed it.  I guess the one major accomplishment is that we weren’t invited back to that event the following year.  Go figure.

Date of Blog Story: 
May 22, 2008

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