You’re Just as Smart as your Grandkids

I found myself seated in my buddy’s garage this morning, discussing his G’kids (that’s grandchildren but I’m not gonna type out 13 letters, a dozen times, when 5 will do). Seems his G’kids can figure out which buttons to press to make music come out of their iPods ! And, they’re only 12 years old !

All I did when I was 12 was to wire speakers I’d salvaged from old radios, all over the house and backyard. I then wired them into a salvaged amplifier. I soldered an adapter into the amp so I could use my Dad’s microphone from his Ham radio set. My model train transformer made a worthwhile rheostat to adjust volume (I usually used it for spot welding small metal objects together or monogramming pocket knives). Using a signal splitter array I’d built from leftover coaxial connectors from the TV antenna, I could make my voice come from anywhere in the house or backyard at the turn of the switch. It confused the Hell outa the poor old family dog, and our neighbours for hours. It didn’t work fantastically, it just worked. And I didn’t have an Internet to look up how to do it. I just had an idea of what the components did and I messed with them until they worked together to do what I wanted them to.

And I learned alot more about those components while I was at it, and that’s how your G’kids do it. After all, they’re just kids like you and I used to be. They start with the technology that’s available as they become aware, and they simply grow with it. And … if you’d kept up with it, so could you. Some of us did. Like my neighbour Marg. She’s pushing 90 and she showed her G’son how to surf more accurately for his homework research. Then she went into Google Chrome settings and locked out the forums where he could get the answers without doing the work. I like Marg … she’s funny.

Sure, the kids of today know how to load music onto an iPod, and which buttons to press to make it playback. But did they have to wire the amp and tuner to the speakers, then before loading the music, did they have to wire the player transfer device (be it : am or fm radio, 8 track, cassette, or turntable), to the amp making sure to splice the signal so they could hear what they were recording, while recording ? If the quality of the recording on their MP3 player sounds like an 8 track, what are they gonna do ? They don’t know how to wash vinyl nor how to clean a stylus (needle). I’m sure they wouldn’t know about the release button on the underside of an 8-track. If the music sounds wiggly, they don’t know how to loosen up audio tapes with a hand-drill and a pencil.

Sure, things are alot easier now with the new devices, but do you have to be a genius to run them ? I don’t think so, ’cause we all did the things I just described above … long before we even had children, much less G’kids. It’s not like we were pathetic incompetents in our day. We simply took the technology that was available as we became aware, and we ran with it (have you heard that anywhere recently ?). Slide rules, compasses, radio direction finders and topo maps, micrometers, vacuum tubes, fuses, Sony walkman’s, Hi-fi stereophonics, record turntables, walkie-talkies, SLR cameras, slide projectors, VCRs, DVD players, just to name a very few. Sure, they’re old technology. But then, so will your G’kid’s iPod be in 30 days, and so will your G’kids be in 30 years. So don’t sell yourself short. You were always as smart as your Grandchildren … you just got lazy … and that’s OK ’cause you’ve earned it.

Bushwhacker

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