May 2014

Thu May 01, 2014 - National Edition
Craig Mongeau


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a lyric in the iconic Rush song “Tom Sawyer,” the one that goes, “He knows changes aren’t permanent but change is.”

You see, lately I’ve received a lot of good-natured ribbing over my now antiquated Star Trek communicator-like cell phone. You know it: it’s the flip-top kind and it’s not very “smart.” I pull that phone out of my pocket and people look at me like my ringtone is going to play some song by the Andrews Sisters. Apparently it ages me by about 10 years.

I will retire it eventually; when it breaks, I’ll get a smart phone, but only when it stops working. You see, it does what I bought it to do — a novel concept … it makes and receives calls and being practical, that’s enough for me.

Now, I’m not against technology: in fact, I don’t want to return to the days when there were no ATMs, when you had to physically go to the bank by noon on Saturdays to withdraw enough money to get you through Sunday. I don’t want to return to 13 channels on TV when I had to endure incessant reruns of Gilligan’s Island and I Dream of Jeannie because I wasn’t in the mood for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. And I certainly don’t want to return to Pong to idle my time away by using two dashes to hit a dot back and forth on a black TV screen.

But I do believe there’s a balance to find between old and new ways of doing things. I never minded (and still don’t mind) actually talking to people. I don’t like receiving more than 150 e-mails a day at work; that hasn’t made my working life easier, which is what I thought technology was defined as having to do. It used to be that people would call when it was important. Now, e-mail makes it easier to play Hot Potato and get something off your plate and put quickly on someone else’s. And e-mail doesn’t even have to be grammatical; it just has to have some semblance of sense.

Oh, I suppose I could go on ranting about technology and maybe you’d even indulge me more. But I really am ruing the day my old 2006 phone breaks; I know I’ll look back fondly and reminisce about the good old days eight years ago. Maybe I’ll share my sadness over my loss with a text to friends, co-workers and family. Too choked up to vocalize my grief, I guess. But like everybody, I’ll change and adapt to the new phone, knowing that it will be out of date in a year and I’ll never see my even older flip-top ever again.

This story also appears on Superintendent's Profile.




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