Tag Archives: Mobile phones

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?


Am I Too Old To Have A Phone?

I don’t think of myself as old and I’m sure that no matter what your age, you never consider yourself old. But now and then one gets a real lesson in “number of years” and one’s theories about age slide straight down the tubes.

I was out for a walk with my young grandson the other day. He is nearly six years old and knows a lot. We ambled along, holding hands and discussing important stuff like the oranges on the trees at the side of the road, the heat of the sun, a slow-moving beetle and suchlike. I hoped he was enjoying the outing as much as I was. We came to a section where new houses are under construction and grandson immediately passed me his most precious possession. “Hold my cell-phone, Pop, it mustn’t get dirty.” He then tested the stability of the earth the contractors had piled up from excavations by climbing up the mounds of sand and sliding down. I was more interested in the houses and stood trying to determine which way the windows were facing.

“I wonder which way is west,” I mumbled aloud to myself. “Those windows are pretty big and the sun is fierce in summer…”
Grandson had overheard. “I’ll tell you, Pop. Pass me my phone.”
What’s the connection, I wondered, as I handed it over?
Sure enough, this little guy, who can barely write his name, clicked a few buttons, turned his body this way and that and pointed, “West is there, Pop.”
“You can tell that from the phone?” I choked.
“Sure! Look here. I’ll show you.”
“All phones can do that?”
“No,” he laughed, “I got an App so I can tell where I am, don’t you see?”

All I can see is that I have to have one of those phones…


Grandchildren – The Seniors’ Downfall

Do you suffer from grandchildren, the little ones who sneer at you as they text their friends while asking you how come you don’t have a smart-phone? For you seniors, that means a mobile telephone such as an iPhone, a Galaxy, a Blackberry or one of the many others on the market. Which operating system are you using? Android or something else? Wasn’t an Android the animal that came swinging out of the trees in that Tarzan movie we saw at the Century movie house 70 years ago?

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night, sweating from a nightmare. I am running doesn’t a street that is 79.5 years long. On one side technology is passing me, jeering and howling as they go. On the other side are grandchildren, shrieking with laughter at the old man trying to keep up but falling further and further behind with each step.

It doesn’t help that you went to college or university in the 50s, or that you ran a successful business or practice in your profession for 40 years. You are now hopelessly out of date and unable to hold an intelligent conversation with your 8 year old grandson who can re-program your old steam-operated first generation phone in seconds.

“What’s wrong with your phone, Pop?”

“It’s dead!”
“Pass it here, Pop, I’ll fix it.”

A split second later the phone is back in your hands and working perfectly. “You really should upgrade, Pop. You will even be able to text grandma with an iPhone!”

I cannot explain to him that grandma wouldn’t know where to look for the message.

Remember how we impressed our parents by reciting the names of the cars as they came around the corner? Man, we were good, up to date with the latest models. That, fellow seniors, is nothing compared to what these kids can do today. True they can’t do any arithmetic without a calculator in their hands, but maybe that’s not important anymore.