I am attached to a seven year old computer who has given as much as taken through the years. It has suffered from hiccups on occasion, as we too have suffered. It has awakened in a black mood now and then, and haven’t we all? It has even decided I was on its hate list and refused to listen to wiser heads. But through it all, it has performed graciously.

Ingrate that I am however, I parked him in a rear closet and bought a new and unfamiliar model. Things were perking along famously for a week or so, though certain programs were gone forever or drastically misplaced. Suddenly without warning, it refused to open, and once opened, it refused to close.

My homesick button craved the return of the old silent computer, so the new one went back to the store with regrets. Thinking it might be beneficial to diagnose the old fellow, he paid a visit to the computer doctor where everything checked out fine.

Settling down to work, I discovered the diagnosis had removed my browser. Now a car cannot operate without gas, and a computer performs better with a browser. It has been a week trying to get the old one back with no success.

I’ll keep you posted.


Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is

“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?” original sculpture & installation by KSR

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is changing around us, and doing so as we speak. A new faster must-have gadget comes on the market hourly. I’m sick of having to learn something new every week or so.

We have a new 55 inch TV in the family room which replaced a perfectly good 50″ one. The small TV in the kitchen gave up the ghost, so we went to the store to replace it, but came home with two new TV’s. Dr. Advice is ecstatic. The big one does things we don’t even need. It has a button that says “Smart” with a picture of a little house. It connects with an HD receiver, and the DVI to the HDMI connection. It connects to your mobile phone. You can even have a Magic Remote control. I don’t know what that is. We have 4-5 remote controls we can never find when needed now. They control Blu-Ray, VHS, surround sound, receiver, and something else I can’t remember. And the ironic thing about it that we don’t really watch TV! We watch PBS and movies. We get all the important stuff from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the lousy local rag. We suffer from information overload. I know this sounds dinosaurish, but one of the pluses of maturity is that your own collection of grey cells contains more than you will ever use in the way of information. The best thing about all of this is that none of it talks to you.


Everyone around me seems to have the latest edition of computer, Smartphones, or whatever, and many of them talk to you. I don’t want a machine telling me what to do. My dear son-in-law was my guru and go-to guy for whatever was new in the tech world. I didn’t need a talking cellphone or computer. My current cell phone calls in and calls out. That’s all I need it to do. Two of our grandchildren, aware of his store of knowledge had a secret saying whenever things could or might go wrong, “WWUDD?” Which meant: “What would uncle Dick do?”

He was in on the birth of modern technology forty plus years ago, and knew what made them all tick inside and out. Everyone over the age of 50 needs to keep friends at least 20 years younger. Better yet, if you get stuck, call a seven year old. Several nights ago a group of intelligent 40-60 year olds, had trouble removing something from the screen of an iPhone. Our seven year old great-granddaughter took it and after one touch of her finger, she calmly handed it back and said “There ya go.” As she turned away she muttered “I can’t believe you didn’t know how to do that!” One of life’s embarrassing moments.


Several years ago, grocery stores began offering the option of “Self-Serve” stations, so that you can slip your card in and check out your own groceries by clicking the appropriate space on the lighted screen. If you make a mistake, it throws a fit and tells you to call for help. Once that’s done, you place the already checked items on a lower platform and continue. If you place anything, even a paper bag on the platform too the machine yells loudly to get it OFF! When through checking, you click “Finish and Pay”. It refuses to move until you tell them if you brought your own bag. After you’re through it yells “Please remove your groceries!” in a frantic voice. Heck, I haven’t even had time to put my wallet back in my purse.

The annoying voice on my GPS when we take a direction she didn’t tell us to, disgustedly tells us that she is “Relocating!” Sometimes we change directions just to tick her off.

All of which says “please don’t tell me what to do”! I like to make my own mistakes and discoveries thank you. Better yet, try making things simpler like the old “on-off” button our radios used to have, and we won’t need an instruction manual for every new thing you invent each week.


I started forgetting names a long time ago.  First it was people I had just met, but then it was old friends and family, so I just told them they knew who they were.  My aunt got so  tired of trying to fish out a name from her memory she would go through all the family names and then give up, because they obviously did know who they were.

Then common words started leaving.  I began pointing to what I wanted, and calling it “that thing”.  I began to realize that it was nouns that decided to disappear, so I decided to just use adjectives, because Stephen King said to stay away from adverbs.

It was a disturbing new phenomenon as I had always prided myself on my vocabulary and ready memory.  Numbers and dates remained in my mind to the extent that I would cheerfully interrupt to correct the speaker and in the process let them know how truly brilliant I was.  It was never appreciated.  I had trained to do this in school by nearly memorizing my homework and then frantically waving my hand in the air to be called upon first, so that I could get it over with and then relax during the rest of the class.  It worked too.

Aside from that, I’m a little fussy about the missuse of words, I have to admit.  For the most part, I just grit my teeth and smile because I was raised to be polite.  And I always pick out the only misspelled word in a sign, letter or book, and it does grate on my nerves.  I loved my English classes, and couldn’t wait for the spelling bees so that the girls could trounce the boys because as everyone knows, boys are much better at math than at spelling.

You can get around name introduction of strangers to one another by just bringing them together, smiling warmly and asking “Do you two know each other?  You really should.”  At that point, they smile back at you and at each other, and repeat their names.  Then you just leave them alone to sort it out.  If there’s enough time I go through the alphabet hoping I’ll land on the right letter which will miraculously trigger the correct name.

Numbers and dates are easy.  You just transfer them onto the next year’s calendar, and remember to look each day so as to remember the birthday, anniversary or what not you need to send a card to.

I have determined that our minds are like computers.  They get overcrowded with a lot of nonsense we don’t really need.  You have to tune them up and defragment them often to keep them running smoothly.

So if I run into you at the grocery store sometime and take on a blank look, just remember that I will probably remember your name sometime in the middle of the night, and will swear to remember it if I ever see you again.