• Dana Glossbrenner

Raise Your Hand If Tech Drives You Nuts


I wish I looked this cute while being crazy. When I was young and cute like this (sort of), I was one of the first people to get a word processor in the mid-1980s. I learned by trial and error how to produce a document, save it to a floppy disc, and print it. All without drop-kicking the green-screened monstrosity into the alley behind my house. I produced a 130-page Masters' thesis on that puppy, by God! So I should be the queen of technology, right?

But past achievements and longevity don't count, especially with tech. As PCs became more prevalent, with programs like Lotus, I taught high school English and figured out (by myself!) how to average grades by entering formulae, updating data (grades), and being ready to push the button come report time. All while teaching literature and writing to 150 students.

It took me until 1993 to get a cell phone. Pocket-sized. Retractable antenna. A smart phone? I procrastinated. Finally, my manicurist told me she would help me download my first app. What's an app? Now I text and chat and play Words With Friends (2nd edition, by golly!) way too much. I should be busy learning about the Cloud.

I remember getting my first e-reader and downloading a book! Jim and I set off on a road trip, and with a new Garmin. It was almost more than I could wrap my brain around, reading an e-book and seeing our little car icon on the Garmin screen, going down a tiny highway, being perfectly tracked by an unseen satellite in the sky.

So I'm on my seventh or tenth (at least) desktop. Also have laptop--two, actually. I know about modems. Even did my own website. Oh, and Facebook, a personal page and author page which have become indistinguishable, but there are fewer grandkid pics on the author page. I gave up on Twitter. Instagram? Don't see the point. Is it for posting selfies?

And during COVID-19, I've learned to host and use Zoom, join a convo on House Party, video chat on Messenger. Hang out on Google. Still don't know what will happen if I make my phone a "mobile hotspot." Holding back on that. Just got Adobe DC Pro. I'm way behind in the PDF game.

But doing okay for a granny. Imagine (a lot of us don't have to imagine) being a person who remembers when a black and white TV made its debut in the living room. When, years later, it became color. If you're a young person, imagine that's where you started. Then the technology revolution after you're out of college. (No more library visits to do research, damn it. After I pitched a pup tent on the seventh floor of the Texas Tech library.) Imagine the onslaught of new stuff to learn! If you're not born into this and grew up speaking technology like you do your native language, it's daunting. Gotta keep up, though. Don't want to be a fossil.

One thing holding me back is my presumption that I need to understand how it works. And I forget there is a YouTube lesson for everything. If I could just understand all the terminology. Like an RSS feed. "Set up your RSS feed by copying a URL from this live site to that." What? How about defining RSS feed? SEO? I don't think so! Yikes and double yikes. I have a room AC with a remote that has no instructions but multiple functions. Nothing about it in the product manual. Guess it's supposed to be intuitive for someone born since 1995. Old farts like me? We are SOL and FUBAR'd. Those acronyms have been around a long time. Look 'em up, sweethearts!