By Richard E. Peck
Follow me on this.
My daughter just gave me an mp3. She’d already given me an iPod (or an iPad?) last Christmas.
I stuck them both in the closet that holds my combination lazer- printer-fax machine-scanner, a Blue-Ray DVD player (it’s red; go figure), a double-deck CD copier/burner, smart cellphone (also called a 4G iPhone), 4.5 megapixel digital camera with 3X optical and 10X digital zoom lens, Photoshop editor and God knows how many double-A and triple-A batteries, some plugged into rechargers and some scattered atop the 9-volt, C, and D batteries that don’t fit a single one of these electronic witchcraft devices.
And I don’t know what to do with any of them. You too?
I use a laptop computer (not on my lap) to do my writing. I started keeping files with 4.5 inch floppy single-sided discs, went to double-sided single density, to double sided double-density, to Zip drive, to flash-stick (or thumb-drive?), and CD and DVD. The printer/scanner connects to things by a four-port USB extension hub and a wire.
So many peripherals dangle from my computer, they look like spaghetti escaping a lunch bucket.
My kids love me, so they give me these things … to make my life easier, they say. Years ago, our daughter gave me a digital battery-operated watch, the first non-winder I ever had. The battery died. She had one too, so I asked if she had teeny little jumper cables to give mine a start. Nope.
Recently she gave me a new phone that scans barcodes and gets prices. She said I could use it to learn to twitter or tweet or Facebook or link in to something (someone?).
Want to bet?
Over the years, my TV-stereo combo has gone from eight-track to Betamax to VHS and now there’s Tivo. And I’m exhausted, trying to keep up.
The latest “gift,” that camera? It takes pictures but no directions came with it. I took three snapshots of the dog but the man at CVS laughed when I asked him to develop the film. He broke it open and took out a little electronic triscuit-thing he called a SIM.
He put the triscuit-SIM in a machine that printed close-up pictures of my nose. Stupid camera!
I remember my own childhood: I was a much better son. I never embarrassed my parents by giving them a single piece of electronics. My dad was stumped by the Etch-a-Sketch, so I quit there.
- Richard E. Peck is a part-time Kaua‘i resident and a retired president of three universities. He has written numerous books, plays, columns and TV shows, and his work can be seen at www.richardepeck.com.