I Hate Computers


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By Don Swinney | June 1, 2013

My experience with computers goes back to the 1960’s. I was offered a job by a bank in Boston. They wanted to train me in the use of computers. They wrongly assumed that because I had a background in math I would be a good candidate for computers also. I was telling this story in a car at one of my high school reunions. I ended it by asking the question, “I wonder how different my life would have been had I taken that job?” One of my long time friends was in the front seat of this car. He turned around and answered my question. He said, “You wouldn’t have been happy.” I asked, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Because you are a people person, not a machine person.” {{more}} So maybe the reason is just that simple. I’m not a machine person. Turns out I married a people person. At least she feels the same way about technology as I do. She likes to work in the yard. And as she puts it, “I’d rather go dig a hole than work on a computer.” I retired as a teacher two years before I wanted to primarily because of computers. Our school decreed that every classroom would have a computer. I asked, “Do I have the right to refuse?” “No!” I got my computer, but there was no desk to set it on, or a chair which to sit while working on it. Now get this. I had tried for three years to get a pencil sharpener. This is not an abnormal request for a math teacher, do you think? After all, most math work is done by pencil. A pencil sharpener is a low cost item. If this is not a case of “the tail wagging the dog,” I don’t know what is. Then there are those wonderful things called cell phones and the thousands of improvements that have been made on them. In many ways I’m a patient man. I used to think drivers of cars were what made me most impatient. Now, it seems that these drivers are occupied with dialing or talking on their cell phones instead of paying attention to their driving. Makes me want to do what one person did. They made a sigh that said “Hang up and drive!”