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Fri, Oct. 18

Better technology raises level of ignorance

The Muse was looking over my shoulder as I fiddled with the stove light.

"You're pathetically ill-equipped to fix things aren't you, Bucko?"

"Neatly put, Muse. But you're not the first to discover that I'm mechanically challenged. And before you expand on the subject, I readily acknowledge that I am technologically illiterate as well."

"Not worth much around the house are you?"

"Nope, although I do pitch in fixing meals, doing dishes, vacuuming, ironing, dusting and things like that, but my Beloved learned years ago that replacing light bulbs was pretty much my max on the domestic mechanical scale."

"And a techno ignoramus as well, huh?"

"Come on, Muse. All that high-tech stuff has become so complex that only scientifically bent adults and kids can figure out how to make those thingama-bobs work. I mean, I kept up for a while. I even learned how to tape programs on my old TV."

"But not with your new one, eh?"

"Right. But at least my dysfunctional abilities are being challenged by a higher level of incompetence."

"Want to explain that?"

"You remember that old Woody Allen line about how success has helped him get refused for dates by a better class of women? Well, this new condo had a lot of indecipherable buttons and gadgets. Then we got a new TV that has hookups for CDs, understand. And the stereo has been a mystery to me since we got it. So, what I'm saying is that all this high tech stuff is at such a high level of complexity that I have been able to achieve a higher level of incompetency. I'm way beyond where I was a couple of years ago."

"I think you're saying that your ignorance is more profound than it used to be."

"Now you've got it. I'm getting more ignorant every day, but it's like graduate-level ignorance because the technological and mechanical advances have raised the levels of those of us who are incompetent. I used to be ignorant at a much simpler level, now I'm out of it at a higher degree of nonperformance. My ignorance is progressing up the scale, don't you see?

"And you think that's the bright side of your dilemma?"

"I haven't a clue, but the next time my 11-year-old grandson visits, I'm going to talk with him about all this high tech stuff."

(Ron Barnes is a longtime Prescott resident and a semi-retired educator and businessman.)

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