By Hannah Reich Berman
Instead of saying “diet,” I used to say “the D word.”
“The D” is still an expression I use, but it now stands for something entirely different, as I have recently been forced to acknowledge that, in my case, it has a far more significant meaning. It stands for dinosaur. I have become a dinosaur. As my grandchildren like to say, “True that!”
Generally, however, I prefer to use full words rather than to substitute letters, as I am challenged by acronyms. DVR is a good one to begin with, since I don’t have a DVR and I have no idea what those three letters stand for. Nor do I care! And while I’m on the topic of things that I don’t use and don’t understand, TiVo is also something I don’t use. That is correct. I am someone who still watches television commercials!
Moving forward, it absolutely took forever for me to learn what Wi‑Fi means. I could have found out right away, of course, but I refused to ask. As everyone else in the civilized world seemed to know what the acronym means, there was no way I was going to acknowledge that I did not. Thank goodness for Google! That is where I find my answers.
If I don’t take the time and trouble to look things up, I am forced to suffer the embarrassment of letting my children and grandchildren know that I am clueless. And along with the looks of incredulity comes the inevitable eyeball rolls that I so often receive. Having someone roll their eyes at me has become an integral part of my environment. As I have mentioned before, my offspring roll their eyeballs at me so often that I’m afraid that one of these days their irises will get permanently stuck up under their lids.
And, while I am in a true confession mode as regards my conversion from Homo sapiens to dinosaur, I might as well acknowledge that I have been known to take this to an entirely new level. The fact is that, until recently, I had never used an ATM. I didn’t need to, since Hubby was my personal ATM. But now that I’m in charge of finances, I have mastered the art of using an ATM.
Certain things don’t bother me. I don’t feel terrible that I don’t know what iPod stands for, because very few people know. Users blithely accept the fact that it is an acronym for something or other. They are wrong. My quick Google search yielded the following information: It stands for absolutely nothing! Of course some folks, unwilling to believe that, have ascribed words to the letters. I saw Interim Planning Overlay District, which has absolutely nothing at all to do with iPods. Another group of words was Interface Protocol Option Devices. Two other word groupings that popped up were Internet Portable Open Database and Image Processor for Optical Data. As I have zero idea what any of those things mean, I don’t know if any of them is correct. And, once again, I do not care. Why should it matter? The same is true of iPad. Maybe it means something and maybe it doesn’t. The important thing is that, with one notable exception—that would be me—most people have iPads and iPods and know how to use them.
In a former world—my world—the word kindle was always associated with lighting a fire. What else could it possibly mean? But as soon as the k became a capital K, I realized that all bets were off. A Kindle meant something else entirely. But I couldn’t have been too far off, since the next piece of equipment, the newer and more advanced Kindle, is indeed known as the Kindle Fire. Score one for me! Nevertheless, the list of things that I do not know, do not understand, and do not use grows longer every day.
I don’t own a smartphone or an iPhone, but if I have this right, an iPhone is a smartphone. And I’ve been told that there are numbers associated with iPhones. I have been informed that there is an iPhone 4, an iPhone 5, and now an iPhone 6. And that, my friends, is the full extent of my knowledge about that phone. I am the none-too-proud owner of a plain, old-fashioned cell phone. I can take pictures, I can use the keyboard for texting, and of course I can make and receive calls. That is it! But, unwilling to be criticized, when my kids ask why I don’t have an iPhone, I have a ready answer. I smile sweetly and tell them that I’m waiting for the iPhone 10 and that they should let me know when it comes out.
But there is pleasure in my life. Every now and then I meet up with another dinosaur, someone who, like me, knows nothing about smartphones, iPads, iPods, Kindles, or the Kindle Fire. Meeting others who are similarly challenged is one of the joys of my life, since few things make me happier than discovering that I am not the last great dinosaur to roam the earth.
Now I have to hope and pray that none of my offspring choose to read this piece. And I beg of anyone who is reading this not to tell my kids what I wrote about. I can just see those eyeball-rolls and hear them cry, “Ma, does everyone have to know that you don’t know about any of this basic stuff?” But it doesn’t bother me to come clean. I guess it all depends on one’s interpretation of the word basic.
But there is one distinct advantage to my technological ineptitude. Hard as it might be to believe this, it occasionally helps me in the exercise department. When someone sends an online picture to me, it often appears on its side. In that case I do a simple exercise. I place my ear down onto my shoulder in order to view the photo. But the real exercise comes in when the picture that arrives is totally upside down. That’s when I have to do a headstand to see it. Now that is exercise! This is not a pretty sight, as I am long past the stage of doing headstands. (Actually, I was never able to do a headstand!) One of these days I really have to learn how to edit online pictures.
That’s the way it is! v
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com