I feel like a dinosaur but not extinct yet

By MARILYN TINNIN COLUMNIST,

I read a lot of self-help books in an effort to stay kind of “with it.”

If the book says “How To” in the title I probably own it. Pick your topic, and the leading experts tell us a new and improved way to live our lives. I don’t know about you, but most of the time I don’t feel very new and improved. Actually, I feel like a dinosaur.

A little research reveals that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago.

Scientists do not agree on what caused a species that had been around for 165 million previous years to up and disappear from the planet. Theories include everything from volcanic catastrophes to disease to biological changes within the dinosaurs. In other words, when it came to the “Survival of the Fittest,” the dinosaur did not make the cut.

I have great compassion for the dinosaur.

I think he must have glanced around one day to find a world filled with creatures who were more agile, quicker, and seemed to know more “stuff” than he did.

 He became overwhelmed that the world was going by so fast and he seemed to be standing still doing the same old dinosaur things he’d been doing for generations.

Technology has made me feel the same way. A few years ago when I was publishing a monthly magazine, I had an assistant named Christi.

She was 27 years old. There was nothing the girl could not do if it involved a camera, a software program, a cell phone or a computer.

She could also throw a spiral football, but as amazing as that was, that gift did not intimidate me.

Everyone who knows me knows athleticism has never been in my wheelhouse. It was the ease and speed with which she managed all things technological that really got to me.

She made it her mission to try to bring me from the Stone Age into the New Media Age. She eventually moved to Dallas, and I secretly suspect it was to get away from me.

I remember when she suggested that I join the professional social networking sight “Linkedin.” She thought it would help me connect with some beneficial business contacts. Christi opened the site and demonstrated it. I thought, “Oh, I can do this.” A few minutes later I had accidentally invited everyone in my address book to my “professional” network.

All of my dinosaur friends immediately e-mailed me quizzically asking, “What is Linkedin?”

That tells you a lot. Even so, I will not die happy unless I master a few more things in the world of today. I thought when I learned in my late forties to execute an e-mail my children should “rise up and call me blessed.”

Email now feels pre-historic. In fact, most people send me a text to tell me I need to check my email. 

Then, of course, there was Facebook. Again, Christi said it was mandatory, and so I learned to post and insert a photo.  But there was still more to know!

Christi said to me, “You need a blog.” I complied temporarily. It was just that my life was not so interesting that I believed anybody would want to follow it. I rarely updated. And when Christi moved away, I had nobody to hold me accountable.

Then came Twitter. I had a new assistant named Kate. She said I had to do it. I finally just said, “I’m tired.”

I simply covered my ears when people started talking about Instagram.

Please, Everybody, could we have a moratorium on technology and social networking?

Can’t we just “reach out and touch” with Ma Bell again?  I tried that only to discover the whole world “has stepped away from their desk.”

Although they also say, “Your call is very important to me,” nobody answers or returns phone calls anymore – at least not to dinosaurs. So, what is a dinosaur to do?

A very few years ago (although it was a century ago in technology years) my daughter gave me a very nice digital camera for Christmas. It did everything except let the dogs out and make my morning coffee. All I wanted at the time was a camera with a button that snapped a photo of my grandchildren.

Betsy thought I needed the super deluxe incredible model not understanding that I did not have the brain cells to operate the one she bought. By the way, it was the size of my pinkie finger and got lost in my purse all the time.

About the time I learned to operate it, cameras were obsolete. Our smartphones gave us digital cameras that worked just as well. 

I do believe that there are worse things than being a dinosaur. I do wish I had known 40 or 50 years ago the things I have figured out at this late date. But none of them are about technology.

Sometimes I look at my 13 grandchildren and worry about the culture they are inheriting. I don’t think our Postmodern era values the same things my generation and our parents’ and grandparents’ generations valued.

That is not to say their parents aren’t trying hard to teach them to love God, love other people and do right, but it does seem to my finite mind that they are not getting any help with that message from the world beyond their front door.

If I write a book about life lessons and dedicate it to my grandchildren, do you think they might want to read it? Do you think there is a place for a book like that? I am hoping so because that is my new project.

I’ll keep you posted. If you have any suggestions, email me at Marilyn@marilyntinnin.com. I am all ears!

 

 

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