A Question of Technology

 

I envy those who are organized enough to keep their passwords, code numbers, and user ID’s in order.  The irony for me is that though computers are supposed to make life easier, they end up, at least for me, making life more unnecessarily complicated.  Of course, this is due in part to my having too many accounts and therefore too many codes and passwords of which to keep track, since I don’t even use some of them for months at a time.  The result is that I often end up having to start over in registering accounts and keeping my records separate one from another.

Also, I have less and less patience for accounts with banks and firms that are so automated, that it takes much too long through pushing one button after another to reach an actual human being.  The highly impersonal nature of the steps to making human contact (if there is any at all) is dehumanizing to me and makes me feel I’ve reached a new level of the unpleasant “future” realities described so frighteningly in books by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell.  Numbers are efficient, but they are much less pleasant than dealing with polite people, who can be asked questions in ways that make us feel we are not just dealing with robots or other machines.  I much prefer the personal, special, and particular way I’m treated by a person with a real voice than by technological beings that make me feel like just another number or machine.  I’m not sure if this is another sign that I’m becoming an old codger, of if I’m simply part of another era, now passed, that was more gracious in human terms and made me feel as though I mattered when trying to get information.  Being on line or on the phone with automated gadgets is often workable, but it can also make me feel like just another microchip with a code number instead of a name.  JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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