Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Alas, I am NOT Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

The fact that I am not smarter than a fifth grader is not easy to admit, but it is true. Two events in recent months brought the realization home that not only am I not smarter than most kids nowadays, but a lot of today’s entertainment and activities are passing me by. I cannot keep up. My brain has slowed down a notch or two, recognition of things and people does not come as quickly as it used to, and new things are not as easily remembered. Those fifth graders are becoming smarter than me every day.
The first event occurred in what to me is a foreign environment - an electronics store. My son asked me to stop in and buy a particular electronic item; it was sold out in the store near his home. He told me the item name, and for some unknown reason I did not ask details. I am sure he assumed I knew what he was talking about. I did not. Next thing I know I find myself surrounded by big screen TVs, video games humming all around me, and aisle after aisle of computers and computer paraphernalia.
I had no idea what I was looking for, or where to find it. I drifted over to the computer section and started slowly walking around, up and down the aisles. I did not know if I was looking for a game, gadget, or some other product. Bewildered does not describe how I felt. Suddenly a young girl about ten years of age came up to me and asked if she could help. I realized she did not work at the store; store clerks were scarce and rarely seen. I told her what I was looking for and she wandered off. A couple of minutes later she returned and told me exactly where I could find the item – a Wii game. A few minutes later I had made the purchase and was on my way.
The second event happened a couple of days ago. I was home on my computer. I do some freelance writing and was reviewing a list of article titles. One of the titles was something like, “How to get to XXX Village”. I had never heard of the place. It piqued my interest, and I investigated. It did not take me long to grasp the fact that the article was all about a video game. There was no road trip involved in reaching that village.
Somehow I manage to survive without knowledge of the video world. It seems to be all around me, and I am sure it won’t be long before my grandson will roll his eyes as he tells me about his latest video adventure, and I have this glazed look in my eyes. I won’t even know what questions to ask, let alone have any idea what he is talking about. I know I should learn a little bit, but honestly, I really don’t care. There are too many other things I want to do and learn before I spend a lot of time on video games. The young people have plenty of time to do it all. My time is precious. I envision my future, hopefully years from now, sitting in front of a computer screen playing senior versions of video games. It will be an enjoyable way to pass the time, and I will not be able to do a lot of other things. I will be too old, deaf, weak, and frail to do anything else. I can wait.

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