"A Letter To Youngsters"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, October 3, 2014

To: The youngsters of our country.

From: A vintage representative of the past.

I would like all younger generation readers to think back just a few years. Do you recall how hard your parents worked to provide a nice home for you: food, clothing and help with school expenses? Remember some of the fun activities they came up with: snowmobiles, boats, cruises across the bay? There were trips up north, picnics at grandma’s, shopping trips to the big malls. It was sometimes a challenge keeping you in the latest trend in clothing and handing over a little spending money for visits to the ice cream and candy shops.

Please don’t misunderstand my message. Parents enjoyed all of the above events and were happy to provide them. They also enjoyed learning with you and teaching you things they believed would benefit you. Lessons in cooking, cleaning and working on projects like getting the boat ready for the season. Remember when you got your own telephone line (long before those devices you clutch in your hands today)?

Remember having friends overnight, laughing and giggling as you hid under blankets with the TV on? Did you really think we did not hear you? Yes, we probably missed a few night’s sleep but sometimes your laughter was so infectious we giggled right along with you. Remember trips out of state to visit relatives grown too old to travel? They were fun and taught you the lesson of family being important.

It seems like we pulled you through many facets of life and, suddenly, you are leaving us behind. You’ve invented and mass-produced electronics. Before we are able to learn and adapt to them, they change. You call us on our cell phone (which we acquired and learned to use) but before we can locate and answer it, in your haste you hang up or leave a voice mail. Often, because it has become your way of communicating, you text us with words abbreviated to the point of non-comprehension.

Of utmost frustration is a scolding about why we didn’t return your call. We did but your “mailbox” was full. We actually go to our old-fashioned mailbox every day looking for hand-written notes from you.

The electronics you have invented are actually time-wasters. By the time I get this column printed and edited on the computer, hours may pass. The printer could run out of ink (which happens frequently these days). After replacement, it has to go through all of its preparation which takes time. As I stand watching the machine spit out pages to prove I put the cartridge in properly, it uses a lot of the precious ink I need for my work.

Wait a minute, I think I hear a mariachi band in the other room. Nope, it’s one of the kid’s cell phones ringing. When they are visiting you never know what you may hear on it or what may appear on it: a message, iTune, video or the entire band that rang the phone playing a song.

We don’t give out our cell number, but everyone seems to know it and often call us at dinner time. I for one have developed a list of politicians I won’t vote for but thank for calling so I could add their name to my list.

We enjoyed the portability of the small cell phones that could easily slip into a pocket or purse. They have now put everything in them including your favorite soap opera so you never miss a segment. Problem is they are too big to fit anywhere so people just clutch them in their hands as they stumble along running into things gazing at the screens.

I wish some techie genius would invent a ballpoint pen that holds enough ink to complete a few columns. I jest of course because then they could not sell me as many of them, which would slow down the recovery we have going.

My column’s message is: As I see it, parents have spent their whole lives raising the current generation and are now being left behind. No matter how hard we are pushed to do so or how great the effort, some of us can’t keep up with all the new gadgets and most of us don’t want to try.

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