I am mad at Al Gore. I am mad because if he did have anything to do with the creation of the internet, he waited too long. My life would have been decidedly easier had I had the technological advancements of the internet in say, 1982.
Think of all the time I could have saved: a wasted semester in Shorthand class (sorry, Mrs. Swift!), or my antiquated Library Science class, where I learned the intricate details of the Dewey Decimal System. And, honestly, I would not have been heartbroken if I never learned to change the ribbon on a typewriter. As far as I am concerned, if the internet had been a staple in my life while I was in college, instead of taking classes that are now considered passe’, I would have focused that time on more important endeavors, like mastering the game “Quarters”, or taking Quantum Physics.
Ah, the internet. How I wish I had all of that knowledge at my fingertips, especially when I was in college. The term papers I could have breezed through. The on-line classes I could have taken. If Al Gore DID have anything to do with the inception of the internet, than his lack of foresight and timing contributed to Global Warming; think of all the paper I wasted in Shorthand and Typing!
My kids have it easy. Need to research a topic? Google it. Not sure how to write a bibliography? Pull up an example on-line. Don’t have a date to the Homecoming Dance? Post your status on your MySpace or Facebook page and, viola, a date for Friday.
For fun, I took my youngest son, Daniel, 8, around our house to see how many gizmos and gadgets we have that were not around when I was a kid. His eyes widened as I took him over to the flat screen TV and explained that the TVs of yore were actual boxes, and that there were only three main networks to choose from! No, there was not a Disney Channel, nor a Cartoon Network; cartoons were only on Saturday mornings and if you slept in, you missed them! I really boggled his mind, though, when I mentioned that I physically had to get up from the couch to change the channel!
Next, we looked at the cell phones in our house, all five of them. I explained to Daniel that when I was young, no one has a personal, portable phone; unless they were exceptionally rich. We used to make our calls from a phone with a cord and if you were super lucky as a teenager, you might have your own phone line in your room. If you happened to be on your phone and someone else tried to call you, they would hear a “busy signal” on the other end of the line, which meant they needed to call you back later. You also had no idea who was calling you until you actually picked up the phone! No, there was no such entity as “caller ID”. Daniel looked at me quizzically. The olden days, I explained.
“Did you know Alexander Graham Bell, Mom?” Daniel queried.
“No,” I smiled as I replied. Impressed that he actually knew who invented the phone, I asked, “How did you know that Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, Daniel?”
“The internet,” he replied, matter-of-factly.
Right, of course, the internet. The reality, for me at least, that Daniel has more data within his reach at eight years old than I did when I was in college, is truly an inconvenient truth.