I'm about to go on rant. If you're into that sort of thing, you might get some popcorn. If not, now's the time to move on to the bridge guy or your horoscope.
Can't say I didn't warn you.
I'm of a certain age. OK, we're all of certain ages, but mine happens to have progressed to the point where phrases like "of a certain age" get used to keep from saying "old." I've been told I'm middle-aged, which I guess, mathematically, would be true if I were expected to live to be 120.
Now, typically, I don't mind being "of a certain age." I have the advantage of, if not wisdom, at least perspective. When it comes to the physical limitations of my years, well, if you were never fast, you don't mind being slow. And, if getting older bothers you, remember Mark Twain's advice to consider the alternative.
Recently I've been party to a few discussions that had as talking points the challenges faced by people in multi-generational workplaces. Which is to say, people who work. Anywhere. In the world.
You see, because of the pluses of medical breakthroughs that help humans live productively much longer and the vague minuses that "living much longer" is going to have to be paid for, a great many of us "certain agers" are at least contemplating staying on the job much longer than any of us anticipated.
However, when we Baby Boomers come up in discussions with Millennials or Gen Xer's or Gen Zer's or whatever group it is we've self-segmented into (I wanted to be a Shark or a Jet, but apparently that reference was lost on most of audience), the first thing that gets mentioned (OK, after the "60 miles an hour in the left-hand lane" thing) is our reluctance to embrace technology.
Apparently, that is either code (not the computer kind) for "old" or the test we're going to have to pass to avoid being dumped out on the iceberg. Which, by the way, is going to be harder to do since they're all melting.
Now, this obviously isn't my first rodeo (and no, my first rodeo didn't involve dinosaur roping. Beat you to it.), nor is it the first time my generation has been condescended to because the flashlight on our phone is always on. That's OK, so is the turn signal.
However, when this sort of conversation comes up, I smile for a bit. Then, well, I mention a few things.
Steve Jobs, if he had survived his battle with cancer that, in all likelihood he might have if he been a bit less Steve Jobs-y about treating his affliction, would be in his mid-60s. Bill Gates, who gets up most mornings knowing he is the richest man in the United States or is the price of a breakfast biscuit away from it, is 63 years old.
I could go on (a common tendency at my age) with the names of masters of technology who all graduated from high school about the same time I did.
The point is that while dewy-eyed youth look upon us with scorn because we can't remember our passwords (or, where our car is parked), I retort that my generation invented information technology (OK, not me personally: all I ever invented was how to put important stuff in computer files and then lose them. Before deleting them).
We (OK, not me. Smart people who just happen to be the same age as me, more or less) labored in labs and basements and garages for years to create the most amazing, revolutionary technology since fire. We then gave it to you (and even allowed you to stay on our cellphone plans well into your 30s so you could use it) and you took it and produced ... well ... the Kardashians and Twitter fights between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.
Look, I get it. Every generation tends to believe it and its technology are being scorned or abused by the one before. It's just that demographic shifts have occurred at such a fast clip that the specific lines between generations have become increasingly blurred.
I have younger friends who can't set up their wireless printer. I have older friends who know all the victory dances in Fortnite. I've found we'd all be better off making fewer assumptions about people's capabilities. Because, people will surprise you.
I'd like to think I've shed a little light on a situation here. It's either that or I just can't get the flashlight on my phone to turn off again.
Commentary on 10/18/2019
Print Headline: You'll be there one day, kid