Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Baby Boomer Am I

by Robert Koslowsky

I admit it. I am a dinosaur. Yes, in the year 2007, I feel as stale as the primordial soup that spawned life on earth and as about as useful as Ford's infamous Edsel. The age of the baby boomer has been eclipsed by the era of the millennials.

Boomers bask in the progress of technology for technology's sake. I still point to the moon landing of 1969 and the incredible capability of the space shuttle introduced in the 1980s, yet I fail to productively adapt and integrate technology into my life like my millennial children have.

I prefer to read a newspaper instead of the news on-line. I retain a daily planner instead of putting my schedule in a PDA. And I look for a mobile phone sporting larger fonts and voice-only features. How the heck do I use a phone that also captures and stores photos, plays music, supports web browsing, does texting, and enables social networking? Well, almost one-third of millennials own their own blogs and almost half of them regularly read blogs. Was I born too soon to take advantage of the new technological world popping up all around me? I don't know, but my twenty-year-old children sure make me feel like a relic of the tar pits.

"Dad, do you know what a typewriter is?," Ashley, my youngest daughter, inquired.

"Yes, we used to use them to do our essays and reports for college. They are a mechanical version of the computer-printer combination that you use to do the same thing," I offered.

"So old world," my offspring retorted, "and the storage medium used was paper, a resource that kills so many trees needed to consume carbon dioxide and offset global warming."

Such observations offered up so effortlessly make me feel like a destroyer of the environment.

No longer are boomers leading the way in communications technology. I read an e-mail, think about it, and dutifully respond to the sender. Sounds fine, until I see Ashley, simultaneously responding to e-mail, sending an IM, talking on her mobile phone and running an on-line gaming session in the background while doing her homework. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

The mental capacity and processing ability is an order of magnitude beyond what boomers like myself could ever do. Oh, there are exceptions to this generalization, but they are few and far between. In the era of the millennials, this level of multiple communication sessions is the norm. It is what they grew up with, and to some degree, they owe that push towards the use of technology to us Boomers.

I will take comfort in reading one e-mail at a time, however, I still believe life would be easier if I could read one typewritten letter at a time instead.

R.K. Koslowsky of Santa Rosa, CA, spent 22 years in the high technology field of optical fiber transmission systems and caught the writing bug penning magazine articles for the industry. His current writings are based on personal experiences and historical non-fiction in the areas of science and technology. He resides in Sonoma County, California and participates in a variety of multi-disciplinary conferences and seminars. Rob is a member of the IEEE, SHOT, Sierra Club, and the California Writers Club.
Robert's Website

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