Get With It!

At my grandson’s college graduation a few years ago, the speaker actually had some helpful advice to hand out, rather than the old “you are standing on the threshold of a new life” chestnut. He had three suggestions for success. I think I wrote them down somewhere, but as usual, I haven’t a clue. It’ll show up eventually, I’m sure. But I do remember two of them.

One was to think globally. It’s not your grandfather’s world out there these days. The last couple of decades have taught us that. While old-fashioned values like honesty, compassion, and understanding have not lost their importance, the playing field is a lot bigger and the rules more complex. We all need to add a little humility, too.

The second point, and the one I remembered best, is to embrace technology. It’s true of seniors in high school, seniors in college, and the “other seniors.” Us.
When the Internet first began changing the way we all communicate, I thought to myself, This is going to be one of the best things for us as we age. It’s going to make such a difference in our lives, make us more knowledgeable, keep our minds active, keep us in touch with the world around us. And it’s indeed wonderful that so many of us have become comfortable with computers and e-mail, can research healthier options for food and exercise, will pick up a remote for a game of Wii bowling with the grandkids, carry a cell phone, learn how to program a DVR. (I personally do not know how to do this yet, but only because we don’t have cable and I haven’t yet found anything on our TV that bears taping.)

So, good for us! Keep it up. If finances are an issue, use the computers at the library. Have your kids and grandkids teach you something new. And if you still long for bygone days, well there’s www.hulu.com and other sites where you can catch those old Cary Grant flicks for free.

My gadget of choice is the iPod Touch, which is like the iPhone without the phone. I’m constantly in awe of what I can accomplish when I combine it with a little wireless access: Starbucks, the library, hospitals, some restaurants, etc. It’s literally an entertainment center and business station that fits in the palm of my hand. In its honor, I’ve composed this little ditty, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein. (For the as-yet uninitiated, “apps” is short for “applications,” or programs, if you will.) And yeah, I know the rhyme is a bit off in places, and I apologize for that, but there isn’t yet, as far as I know, an app that will compose good poetry. Although Wikipedia (yet another app) does give some rhyming suggestions, which I used.

(To the tune of My Favorite Things)

Banking and newspapers, recipes, weather,
Music and photos, a tip calculator
Notes that remind me to pick up some bread.
Three little goldfish who need to be fed.

Books I can read or else give a listen,
E-mails to send when the kids I am missin’,
Locate a place with the aid of some maps.
These are a few of my favorite apps.

Travel and Skee Ball, alarm clock and TV
Stock market, Scrabble with a great dictionary.
All this I do with a couple of taps.
When I’m accessing my favorite apps

Play the slots or
Watch a movie,
Google search or
Hear a song.
I simply will touch on my favorite apps
And life can’t go too far wrong.

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