Wow! That’s Weird

Yeah…that’s what I said last Thursday. The internet was down. Oh, it’s been down before. Usually, because I had a crappy connection at the wall jack (I have DSL), and it just would flitter off for a few minutes and then come back. But this time, it laid down and died. Gone.

It astonished me how much I actually care about the internet these days. I wake up early, about 5am (which ok, I admit…it either 7am or 8am back east depending on what part of the year it is), and plow through 300 emails I get overnight. Then I check the headlines, and write my blogs, and check and see how my favorite sports teams are doing. But throughout the day, I’m always on the internet doing something. I’m either checking facts, or looking up a product, or searching for something. And I didn’t realize how much I depended on it, until I didn’t have it for a week. To be fair, they wanted to come out and fix it the day after it happened, but I was tied up in meetings all day and couldn’t make it.

So, it got me thinking how much we depend on a lot of things in this country. Things that if they were gone tomorrow, we’d have to re-figure our lives. There’s a lot of stuff like that, and the internet, I bet, for a lot of you is only one of them. What about your cell phone? I remember, not too long ago (ok… it was 35 years ago), thinking that walking down the street talking to someone on the phone sounded really futuristic and weird. When cell phones did come out, they weren’t even called cell phones. They were called “car phones” because they were in your car. They were huge. Hard-wired into the trunk of the car, you had to take them in to have them installed and it took most of the day. And they cost upwards of $500! I know today’s cell phones can cost nearly that much, but they do so much more!

Think about TV. Can you live without a TV? I think I probably could (as long as I had the internet and a Hulu subscription!). What about a microwave oven? My brother bought my mom one of the first microwaves back in the mid-70’s. It set him back nearly $1,000! It wasn’t an appliance like a blender back then. It was furniture.

We take a lot of things for granted in our lives; things that I think if we think about it are marvels of our modern age. My grandkids love their tablets. That’s the first thing they want to do when they come for a visit. Either they’re dragging out their own, or they’re asking to borrow my wife’s. The first computer I had was in 1982. It was an Atari 400, and I had to take out a $500 loan from the bank to help pay for it (and the co-pay part of my daughter’s birth!). It had 2k of memory. I’ve used up 100 times that in writing this blog so far!

Be thankful for the advances we have. One day, you may have to go without them, and you’ll learn what took me a week to learn. Technology is here to stay…as long as your telephone jack doesn’t go out!