Wow! Reality, What a Concept*

I try to express things with humor, but unfortunately, sarcasm is my best talent (Monty Python fans, think Doug and Dynsdale Piranha). Alas, what is sarcastically hilarious at twenty is not funny at sixty-five. Don’t believe me? Compare your reaction to Saturday Night Live at twenty to your reaction (to the DVR replay, since [if we’re still working] we’re all asleep at eleven PM) at sixty-five. I, for example, am still desperately trying to understand the humor of Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, and Amy Schumer. I’m sure that if we sat and talked, I’d find them fascinating, but since humor and I have changed, I don’t relate to their routines.

Another thing that has changed is my ability—no, my relationship—with computers. I started out using a mechanical teletype with punched paper tape back in college. My first personal computer came in a bag of parts and had 256 BYTES of memory, with a hexadecimal keyboard for input. I eventually expanded it to a whopping 8 kilobytes, added a mechanical teletype (yes, I bought one for myself—surplus and VERY cheap), with a cassette recorder (remember them?) to store programs and data.

Since then, I’ve normally built my own computers, buying a “barebones” system, then adding memory and peripherals to make it do what I wanted it to. MY computer was exactly as I wanted it!

Alas, today’s computers don’t quite fit my expectations. When I try to repair a computer, even if I know what’s wrong, I need a 500-watt klieg light to be able to see everything. I also need (and use) the magnifiers that make me look like the doll doctor in the first Toy Story movie (although I hope I look just a little younger).

It’s difficult to change. However, as I age, there are tiny adjustments—and I mean tiny—that I need to make that seem insurmountable. Many things I used to do myself I need to admit that I should divest them to others if it takes me too much time and effort. Bluntly put (sorry) my time has become too valuable. First, I earn more per unit of time and, second my time is more precious because it is limited. Fortunately, I have a wife (thank God) who nudges me in the right direction. Repeatedly. With good humor, even if I ignore her. Also, repeatedly.

So, would I rather do everything myself or have the work done for me? For many years, I had no choice; if it needed painting, we did it; if it needed repairing, we did it. However, when I let go of the way we’ve always done it, the answer is obvious; I’d rather have it delivered; I’d rather have it painted; I’d rather have it repaired. In my younger days if I’d had the choice, I would have preferred it then, too. (As Joe will tell you, it would have been better to replace my BMW each year instead of spending weeks every spring and fall repairing the body on my 1972 Ford Pinto with fiberglass and Bondo®.)

So, reality is different. Instead of doing everything myself, I have to pick up the phone or check the Internet to find someone to do some things.

My wife got through to me that our job is to (finally have time) to enjoy one another, our children, and our grandchildren.

Wow! That’s pretty cool.


*as used, to elicit much better laughter, by the late-great Robin Williams

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