Now I’m officially a techno-nerd!

Now I’m finally a techno-nerd! Amazing! For years , and my kids would claim centuries, I have avoided technology with a passion. I simply don’t like gizmos of any kind whatsoever.

Well I guess that’s not completely true, because as a kid I really loved my little handheld transistor radio. My dad brought one home for me one day when I was about eight or nine years old. At first I didn’t even know what it was, but it didn’t take long to figure out.

A couple of years later he brought home another gizmo, this one considerably bigger in size and with more buttons. It was all black and shiny and very cool looking, and so I picked it up and turned it around in my hands over and over again, trying to figure out what was. As I was examining it I saw a smirk come across my dad’s face, and I realized that he was holding some kind of awesome secret.

“What’s so funny?” I asked. Then he started laughing.

“Do you really want to see?” he chortled.

“Uh, I guess so,” I answered.

“Bring it here”, he said. He took the gizmo out of my hands, and pushed one of the buttons. It made kind of a strange whirring noise and then it stopped. Then he pushed another button and I heard my own voice coming out of that little black box saying some of the stupidest things I think I’ve ever heard myself say.

It was a tape recorder — one of those old cassette tape kinds of recorders that pick up all the annoying intonations of your voice and make you sound like Mickey Mouse under water. I was so furious at him that I walked out of the room, went out the back door, and sat in the back yard for as long as I could stand it. But my ire got the better of me and eventually had to go back in and ball him out for playing such a nasty trick on me. I told him any number of not-so-happy things and threatened that if he ever did that to me again I would refuse to speak to him for the rest of my life.

Sigh.

Perhaps that’s why all of my life I’ve had a distinct aversion to gizmos.

That aversion is soon to be quelled since today my darling 18-year-old son installed on my computer speech recognition software. Yuppers. I would never have believed it myself, but here I am sitting at my desk with this goofy thing on my head and a weird little wand in front of my mouth and talking instead of typing. Not only that but this software is designed to work with a handheld digital recorder that I also purchased. So now rather than writing notes by hand when I interview I’ll have this handy-dandy little gizmo that will record the interview, plug into my computer, and allow the speech recognition software to transcribe the interview.

I have to tell you, this is way far better than Lost in Space ever was. I can’t even begin to figure out how many hours I spent pretending that I was Will Robinson lurking around on some strange planet with this huge clunky robot following me, ready to my every bidding. I loved the way he would flail his arms around and yell, “Warning! Warning, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!” I also love the way he could figure out any scientific fact, math equation or material analysis without even opening a book. I wanted a robot like that for myself, and that was in spite of having been burned by my dad’s off key sense of humor with a tape recorder. On the other hand I have to admire Dad because he always tried to utilize the best of technology (at least what was out there at the time, and I decline to give you a decade) and to teach us kids how to appreciate it.

I can promise you that it will take me a good long time to learn how to work these gizmos effectively without losing my mind. But it’s a start, and I have effectively taken the first step into the world of technology. I have Dad to thank for that, and I am truly grateful. I also regret ever having told him that if he ever pulled anything like that on me again I would never talk to him for the rest of my life. You see, I can’t talk to him for the rest of my life because he passed away when I was 15 years old. So, whether I’m mad at him or not can’t talk to him anyway at least not face-to-face. But I know, that we do still converse on another level and that is probably sitting right here beside me chortling and awing over this new technology that will help me to do my work so much more efficiently, even if I sound like Mickey Mouse under water.

Thanks to Dad, I am officially a techno-nerd.

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