Monthly Archives: June 2014

It was the new generation of “techies” who decided that the world needed to upgrade its communication systems. These young college drop-outs set up a workshop in a garage in California and went to work. As a result we have WiFi systems so our computers work faster, we have digitized medical test results from the HMO, we can do our banking and traveling online, our children walk about with cell-phones plugged into their ears and our grandchildren are born clutching cell-phones. We, the members of the Golden Age generation are not impressed. We are mostly beyond this new communication stuff and our stiff, thick fingers cannot press the microscopic buttons on these new gadgets, so we launched a counter-offensive to hit back at these new developments.

What better way to retaliate than to use the system we built in our garages, the lowly telephone system? We invented Call Centers followed by Automatic Call Distribution (ADC) systems. The hi-tech youngsters laughed at us: “Who needs it?” they shrieked. We all know our new systems. In the Call Center operation you call up to order a pizza, speak to an old lady in Mumbai and end up trying to help her with her knitting problem.

The ADC is no less frustrating. You lift the receiver to call the local hospital to make an appointment with a doctor. You dial and get through: “Press 1 for Heart Department, 2 for Urology, 3 for Gynecology, 4 for the Skin Department,” and so on. The voice is soothing and you know this call is going to be easy.

You are now in our clutches. This is payback time for all the little gadgets you youngsters invented, for the ease at which you can text, or listen to music or send and receive emails. Pressing a number on our system is never going to get you to your destination! If you get through on the first number you press, you will be in what we call the secondary menu. “Press 1 for heart attacks, press 2 for heart surgery, press 3 for pacemakers,” and so on. If you do get through on that button you will move to the third level menu: “Press 1 for emergency, Press 2 for the transplant department, Press 3 for …” and so on. This call is not going anywhere! It is our infinity program which will keep you busy pressing buttons for days.

We have now added the eternal ring where your call will result in a ringing tone. Our latest tests show that this can go on for weeks before the wires burn out. We are also working on new Apps for our phone systems. You will meet them shortly.

So who exactly was it that upgraded the communications systems?

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To Australia by Wheelchair

The travel agent looked me as I tottered across to her desk. “Wherever you’re going, use a wheel chair at the airports,” she said. “And get one for your wife at the same time!”
I was horrified. Wheelchairs are for the…, you know, ex-walkers, has-beens, washed ups. Not for me. I still walk. It may look funny and it hurts like hell, but I walk. Of course her suggestion became an instant family war cry: “If you insist on travelling to Australia you have to use wheelchairs in the airports!”

And so it was. And it turned out to be the best thing we did on this trip. Some invisible notation on our computerized booking set things in motion. At every airport the counter agent took one look at her computer, sent out a magic signal and in a flash, help was at our side, gripping our elbows as though we were about to fall over.

The system worked like a dream. We sailed along secret passageways, took unknown shortcuts and went through ‘entry-forbidden’ doors. We found ourselves in ‘staff only’ elevators and careened around airports like two oldies on their last legs. People scooted out of the way, glanced at us and whispered “Shame, just look at them,” as we glided past with averted eyes. We hardly slowed down for passport control where the lines looked as though they had been there for years; our pushers hit the brakes at security and gave the armed men a split second to look at us and decide we were long past terrorism; in the departure lounges we were seated in the front row and laughed all the way along the boarding sleeves as our wheelchairs led the other passengers onto the planes. Of course we made sure no one saw us smiling. The wheel chair service was so good that some of our ‘pushers’ actually thanked us for letting them help us!

With all this special treatment my back behaved as though it was born to the noble art of classy air travel. It is hard at work now on a scheme to get us upgraded from cattle-class to first-class. Wheelchairs? It’s the only way to travel!