My husband and I are having a hard time moving into the ever-changing technological age. “Do you want to go look at plasmas today?” he asked me one weekend afternoon recently.
“I just gave plasma at the blood drive at work,” I responded naively.
He sighed, looked down at a newspaper ad he was holding, and began reading, “A plasma display is an emissive flat panel television where light is created by phosphors excited by a plasma discharge between two flat panels of glass.” His eyes then began to cross from all the technological mumbo jumbo.
“Let me get this straight,” I said, “This television is created by excited plasma discharge? That ad should be rated PG-13 and don’t show it to the children because then I’m going to have to explain the birds and the bees to them in an entirely different way.”
Despite my protests, a short time later we ended up standing in front of the television display at the local electronics store along with a sales person who was droning on about things we pretended we knew about, but really had no clue. “The difference between a plasma television and an LCD television is that the LCD television uses liquid crystal display for its visual output as opposed to cathode ray or plasma,” he said, filling our heads with useless facts and information when he obviously had no idea our brains were about to explode.
“We’re baby boomers,” I blurted out. “We’re used to those kind of televisions that your great grandmother used to have – you know the kind that sits inside furniture and has knobs? Do you sell any of those?”
“Aaah,” he replied as he nodded knowingly and a bit sympathetically, “We don’t sell antiques here.”
He held up one of the four remotes that were included with the plasma television. “This one you use to turn on the television.” He held up another one. “This one you use to change the channels and adjust the video quality.” He held up the third one. “You use this one to turn on the DVD player and adjust the colors on the display.”
As he held up the fourth remote, I stopped him and said, “Let me guess. You use this one to operate the robot you have to buy to WORK THIS STUPID TELEVISION BECAUSE IT’S TOO COMPLICATED FOR THE HUMAN RACE TO FIGURE OUT, RIGHT?”
He looked at me as if I had just landed in my spaceship in the parking lot. “Perhaps you two need to ponder this purchase a bit longer. Let me give you some literature on this television to take home with you.” He handed me a 400-page notebook and grinned, “If you think this is difficult to understand, just wait until you have to hook this puppy up!”
As we drove home, my husband said, “I used to feel so good about my appreciation of new technology, but now everything changes every other day and I just can’t keep up anymore.”
“I know what you mean,” I said empathetically. “Just last year when we finally replaced our rotary dial phone with a touch-tone phone, I thought we were really keeping up with the latest trends, but now, there’s cell phones, digital cameras, iPods, MP3 Players, and Web Cams.”
“Wow,” my husband said, seemingly impressed with my knowledge. “Where did you learn all that high-tech lingo?”
“Oh, I just saw it advertised on a billboard back there,” I responded. “Until just now, I thought a pod was only something that held peas.”
“Let’s listen to some music to take our minds off of all this jargon,” he said as he popped in a cassette tape in our car stereo. As the music of The Beatles began to calm both of us. I lookd at him and smiled, “Simplicity is wonderful, isn’t it?”
“Absolutely glorious,” he laughed as he threw his head back and accelerated our 10-year-old car into the sunset.