I thought it was Senioritis, but it may have been misdiagnosed.

It’s not that we vintage folks don’t possess the grey matter to learn how to use today’s electronic devices, but….

Back in the dark ages, it required a whole semester learning FORTRAN and the step by step “if/then” procedure in order to use a computer. Once you developed the program, you had to key-punch the computer’s instructions on individual cards. Those cards were then stacked and fed into a computer the size of a banquet hall. There was always a glitch which stopped the computer so you had to go back through every one of your punch cards to find the problem. But once you got the program running, the mighty machine would crank out an answer. Imagine that! It took only three months to do a calculation that it would have taken thirty seconds to do on a slide rule!

The excitement faded quickly.

Then came the desktop computer—no punch cards required! (not to be confused with the personal computer which would come along later). You simply typed on a keyboard on one desk to program a computer as large as a refrigerator on another desk. There were no fewer glitches, but this computer spit out a code so you could find the error in a support book and fix the problem the very same day!

Early calculators, the size of a small briefcase, could add and subtract, multiply and divide faster than we could do it longhand, but we still had to use our slide rules for algebra and trig functions.

My first pocket calculator was a true marvel. I could do calculations without having to look up a nine-digit number from my two-inch thick book of trigonometric tables! And it was quicker than my slide rule. Boy was it exciting learning how to use all those functions. It actually fit inside my pocket and it only cost about a half-week’s pay!

That model was soon obsolete and the learning process began again on a new model.

Personal computers came out, so we learned how to use them. Then came windows and we relearned. Laptops came out and we did it again.

Getting on the internet required more learning. So did mobile phones, fire cubes, computer games—the list goes on and on. New strains of these products come out every year, replacing the old.

Like immunity to over-used medicines, exposure to the ever evolving variants of electronic gadgets has caused many of us seniors to develop a natural resistance to learning how to use them.

I don’t think there’s a cure.

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