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Shnay: He’s no technophobe, more like a techno-fogey

Computers can be puzzling columnist Jerry Shnay says.  |  File photo

Computers can be puzzling, columnist Jerry Shnay says. | File photo

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Updated: February 27, 2014 6:12AM



I do not understand electronic technology and why it does not like me.

We are barely on speaking terms with each other. But before you think I have been living a hermit’s life in a dimly lit cave far from humanity’s shores, let me give you some reasons for my anxiety.

A few weeks ago at a family gathering, eight of us were seated around a television set watching something-or-other. Four of the eight had their so-called smartphones in hand.

Were they talking to each other on their phones while seated within speaking distance? Of course not, was the general reply. They were merely “checking” emails, their Facebook page, their Twitter whatever or telling their friends what they were doing.

Apparently what they were actually doing was not as important as telling someone what they were doing. It’s called distraction. And that’s one reason technology and I do not get along.

Sad to say, these $300 phones are much shrewder than me. When I’m told “you have to see this” and handed one of these devices, as soon as I grasp it, the screen goes blank. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

“It must not like you,” I am told. Tell me something I do not know, I think.

Please disabuse yourself of the idea that I communicate via tin cans and twine. We have two computers, and there is a Facebook account in my name, where now and then someone asks me to be their “friend.” If I know that person and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I agree.

That’s it. If you need to tell me something, call me, email me or knock on my door. As for Twitter, it’s not worth the effort. How can any self-respecting newspaper scribbler confine themselves to 140 characters?

There is a phone in my possession most of the time. It does two things well — it makes calls and it receives calls. Period. It can send me text messages to which I never reply.

It cannot take pictures of myself or access my junk mail. And by the way, its yearly cost is about the same as a dinner for two at our favorite seafood restaurant in Tinley Park. Yes, that one.

Before you think my skeleton should be mounted next to that of the T-rex at the Field Museum, let me explain why this is being written.

The other day I received an email containing information to be used for this column. It was received on Friday. It was nowhere to be seen on Sunday.

Could it have been accidentally deleted or did the computer eat the message? Using clear, cold logic, I deduce it must be the fault of the computer, a machine that bewilders me at times.

My judgment on this matter is subject to the nitpicks of She, who claims that logic and the male brain are like oil and water.

There are those well-versed in this kind of technology who sneer at my misgivings. The word “troglodyte” escapes their lips. A “trog” is the person who refuses to accept new ideas.

I recognize these electronic marvels, but, like a Luddite, I choose not to be governed by them.

In the early part of the 19th century, a group of textile workers in England began destroying new-fangled machinery in the belief that modern technology would alter for the worse the way that everyone lived and worked. It was said that their ringleader was a young man named Ned Ludd, so these fearful groups came to be known as Luddites.

I found these facts on the Internet and downloaded it to my Kindle. So there you are.



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