The Gross National Debt

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Keeping up with Fred is easy. Keeping with technology, not so much

Get with the program

In 1972, I think, A hand-held calculator was released to the general public. It did simple math, add, subtract, multiply and divide. Not much else.

Cost? $199 as I remember.

Today you can get solar-power hand held calculators smaller than a tiny cell phone for free. Give-aways.

Never mind cell phones.

Remember the first laser discs? Giant things the size of a 33 1/3 record? One movie per disc.

My grandma died, never learning to program her VCR or DVD player.

I remember when touch screen voting machines were brought to the Kiwanis Club. Members queued up to try it. I got my turn and zipped through it so fast the demonstrator was irked she didn’t get to tell me how to do it. The Judge was present that day and refused to do it.

“I’m afraid of it,” she said.

Years ago, I could build webpages. I could read the internet language like it was English. It was one of 4 computer languages I learned in the course of being me.

This was, as I said, years ago. Now I have no idea. The computer languages I learned are more obsolete than a politician 5 years out of office. Java to me is still coffee.

Technology waits for no one. Keep up or get left out.

The cutoff is 90 years old. In other words, if you are 90, you don’t have to sign up for this, You can continue to get your check in the mail.

89 years old? Sorry. Gotta get that direct deposit.

This is gonna panic a lot of people. A lot.

There are many elderly people who absolutely depend on their Social Security checks to live. They take the checks to the bank to cash ‘em and immediately pay bills.

Yes, you and I understand there’s little difference in direct deposit v. taking a check to the bank to cash it, but to people used to getting that piece of paper in the mail, it is a terrifying change.

Now, I am reminded of Fred back in Eastpoint FL. Fred was a commercial fisherman, oyster harvest mostly. I seriously doubt Fred had a bank account. I know he didn’t have a real address, at least according to the Post Office. He got his mail General Delivery at the Eastpoint post office.

Provided Fred lives long enough to retire, not a guarantee, he’ll have to get direct deposit. I dunno if Fred will be able to manage that.

If you are my age, think about the technological advances we’ve seen in our lives.

Now think about what the next 20, 30 and 40 years hold.

Are you gonna be able to keep up?

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