Tech was always my best friend. As the daughter of an electronic engineer, I had the first TV in the neighborhood. When desktops arrived in the 80s, I quickly climbed aboard. I was an author – I had to go digital. My first computer was a 1982 “portable” called Kaypro 2. It weighed a svelte 26 pounds – about the same as my 2-year old son. The 9-inch green phosphor screen only displayed text. If I used it for too long, I ended up with double vision and spidery green after images. I loved it anyway.
My Kaypro and I had some wicked battles in the beginning. I was convinced that it was possessed. Eventually, we made peace and I was officially a digital writer. As long as my kids kept their sticky fingers off the keyboard . . .
It wasn’t long before I made friends with the internet. In those days, I had to use a “gender neutral” screen name because it was 96% male. The favorite sport of those early geeks was to harass women online. I called myself onbase in honor of the Mets and baseball. I still use the name – among five others.
The rest is history. Tech and my kids grew up with car phones, beepers, pocket PCs, and Palm Pilots. In those days, kids tortured their parents by refusing to eat dinner if it wasn’t hamburgers or pizza. Not my kids. As soon as I left the house they would call my car phone to chat, knowing that every precious minute cost a fortune. That was long before smart phones and family plans.
When my kids went to bed, I pulled out my Rocket ebook – almost a decade before Kindle hit the shelves. It weighed 1-1/2 pounds and stored about ten books. I was in tech heaven. Eventually the first Kindle leaped into my hands in 2007, storing an unimaginable two hundred books. The new Kindle holds about four thousand titles – not including movies, magazines, and streaming video. Now I own a Kindle Fire and an IPad, with more books than I could finish in two or three lifetimes.
I took everything in stride until Facetime. By then, iPhones, iPods, and iPads were a way of life. I thought it was very cool at first. The first time we tried it my four-year old grandson ran away crying. We waited a year until he was five and his little brother was three. They loved it.
There was only one problem. Everyone under the age of twenty looks great on Facetime. Everyone older looks, well … awful. Forget the wrinkles, the jowls, and the colored hair. The face turns into a . . . monster.
As an author of both children and adult fiction, I was used to writing about monsters. I wasn’t used to being one. What’s a geezer to do?
I became The Nana Monster.
I growl, I roar, I send little kids screaming from the screen. They love every minute. No one knows the geezer beneath the bloody red glasses.
What’s next? I’m concerned about holograms that project people “as-is” not twenty years younger and twenty pounds thinner. I’ve avoided video but now with the Go Pro and smart phone video it’s no problem. I’m doomed to technological distortion – somewhat reminiscent of “reality.” It’s clear that my once-best friend is on the warpath to make me look . . . old.
There’s only one solution. Text the grand-kids.
Editor’s Notes: You can visit contributor Dr. Jeri Fink at her website, HauntedFamilyTrees.com. She believes “after fifty” is a creative, exciting time to grow and explore new ideas, places, and media – defying those creaky myths of aging. A recent project – Broken – is a seven-book series of thrillers that involves all ages, from baby boomers to new adults. She tells us: “I challenged the art of storytelling by merging fact, fiction, and photography into riveting, bestselling novels. It emerges from my work as a Family Therapist; expertise in family psychology and history; research into psychopaths and The Psychopathic Spectrum; and passion in photography and photo analysis. My 28 published books, hundreds of articles and blogs, speaking engagements around the country, and active online presence all reflect my many life experiences.”
Subscribe to her e-mail lists on photo insights and haunted family trees; read her blogs ranging from photo analysis, psychopaths, facts about who we are, and inside the author’s head. Visit www.hauntedfamilytrees.com where you’ll read cutting-edge psychology; discover the secrets of haunted family trees – from the infamous to your own; and experience photo insights at their best. Share her life-changing expeditions to places like Antarctica and the Arctic on scribd.com (all completed after turning 60). She and her husband of 46 years absolutely cherish their four grandchildren, along with a pair of very rambunctious dogs.