Originally Published: July 4, 2000 7 p.m.
It's getting harder to keep up!
Not that it's a big deal. I mean, I'm sort of getting used to being left behind in this increasingly technological society.
And I shouldn't excoriate myself. After all, everyone knows I can't perform at my 60-plus the way I did 40 or 50 years ago.
Which is why I am only moderately upset when I read that scientists have determined that the brain's juggling ability peaks around 30.
What that tells me is that I missed a golden opportunity to squeeze another hour of the day. At that age I was running on a full tank, concentrating on building a career, attending to family responsibilities, and trying to cram as much as I could into those intolerably short days that typically befall 30-year-old self-styled whiz kids.
Had I known I was at the top of my multi-tasking (I just learned this word!) game, I'm sure I could have managed to stuff one or two more "tasks" into each 24-hour day.
Of course, back in the old days, it wasn't as easy as it is today. Back then, we relied on things like the telephone and letters and even telegrams (no, children, I don't have the space to explain what that was.)
Today, fast-trackers and wannabe's have e-mail and faxes and the ubiquitous cell phones. No technological invention (so far) permits folks to become bona fide multi-taskers faster than cell phones.
The problem is the novice jugglers!
And those folks who are on the steep downside of 30.
How, for instance, do I determine whether the guy in the car approaching me up Copper Basin Road, talking on a cell phone and weaving into my side of the road, is at his peak or is over the hill? I don't know whether to drive into a ditch or simply wave hello! If he's around 30, I have reasonable assurance he will return to his lane; if he's got one foot in geezerland, then I'd better steer clear.
Of course, there's another problem. How do I know this cell phone guy isn't a victim of cerebral overload (another multi-tasker term!)? How much can a person handle? And when he reaches this condition, what happens? Does he throw the phone, stand up and yell "I can't take it anymore!" or simply metamorphize into a jabbering idiot?
Oh, there's one other problem I feel compelled to mention. And I share this with you not out of envy or jealousy, having missed the chance to use cell phones during my whiz kid years, but purely out of a sense of service and outrage. The next time a juggler takes a cell phone to a tennis match or a restaurant and interrupts the players or diners seeking a quiet moment together, I or any reader should grab that phone and – Sorry, I'm becoming too emotional.
(Ron Barnes is a longtime Prescott resident and a semi-retired educator and businessman.)