Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mother is Facebooking

There is a point in middle age where you and the latest technologies part ways.

Your dollar store reading glasses won’t pick up the fine print in owner’s manuals. You lose your way—and lose faith—in the bewildering maze of menus that drop down or pop up as you struggle to program the latest gizmo or gadget.

You start to doubt your digital self. Like Grampa Joad on the way to “Californy” in “The Grapes of Wrath”, you hunker down in the dust at the side of the road and say, “I aint-uh-gonna go. Nossir. I aint-uh-gonna go.”

This technological pre-senility shows up all but automatically In your forties. It shows up with such regularity you could set your watch by it, assuming, of course, you understood the instructions that came with your watch—or that you wear a watch at all now that cell phones show the time.

I mention technological pre-senility because I was on Facebook after supper last night. And, there, in a little box over to the right, Facebook was suggesting a new “friend”—My mother.

Mom. On Facebook.

I won’t tell you how old she is, but her profile says she graduated from college in 1943. She lists herself as retired, but she still drives over and volunteers at the library two or three days a week. She takes side streets now—her one concession to age, She has sworn off driving the eight-lane wide two-way drag race that used to be Main Street.

So much for technological pre-senility. Her peers are fighting for an extra prune whip dessert down the street at the home… My peers are beginning to think prune whip sounds pretty good. Meanwhile, Mom is out there networking with people 1/8th her age.

All you Baby Boomers feeling entitled to give up on technology take notice. And all you Gen-X’ers feeling electronically sorry for yourselves—suck it up.

We’ve got generations of technology to master before we sleep. If my Mom can Facebook, surely we can program that new hi-def TV. Or at the very least set the blinking clock on the hopelessly out-of-date VHS recorder just below it.

So c’mon. What are we waiting for? We’ve got technologies to master. If Mom can, we all can. Let’s roll.