Bob’s trying to live in the present

Bob's trying to live in the present by Bob Karolevitz I�ve just got to quit the Model T thinking!

It�s been more than six decades since the Great Depression, and I still let it color my outlook.

And it�s been 60 years since I caught the train to Fort Snelling to begin my jolly time in the U.S. infantry during World War II. Then, when I try to bring up the subject of my service during the Korean �police action,� our daughters say: �Dad, we weren�t even born yet!�

So I�ve been dragged resistingly into the 21st century while clinging stubbornly to the past. All of a sudden I�ve become an old codger. A veritable antique. A dinosaur in the Dot.Com age.

Well, that�s got to change before it�s too late!

I�ve thrown away my carbon paper and my glue bottle. My artgum eraser is as antiquated as I am. Shucks, I�ve even priced a computer with an Internet modem. The next thing you�ll know is that I�ve started e-mailing.

Actually it really dawned on me when I went to the dentist the other day. I hated the thought of the tooth-gouger. I had conjured up visions of a foot-pedal drill and all sorts of obsolete techniques designed to hurt me.

I was in for a big surprise. The rubber-gloved doctor used his up-to-date tools of the trade to fix my cavity with only a glimmer of pain. I do worse for myself on the farm with a hammer hitting the nail on my thumb.

We praise the lofty technological advances of our time: television, smart bombs, satellite pictures, men on the moon, cell phones and tiny laptops. But we take for granted such helpful things as garage door openers, rural water, light switches, remote controls and even microwaves as if they�d always been with us.

We no longer realize that today�s Interstates were once graveled byways.

Yes, I�ve been mired in the Model T rut for too long. I flip the key to start my car instead of cranking it. I open the trunk by pressing a button. What will they think of next?

Longing for �the good old days� might satisfy us nostalgicly, but we forget about the outdoor johns, the flickering kerosene lamps, the coal bins and the ice boxes. We might have beautiful thoughts about Old Dobbin, but we don�t think about heavy harnesses, fly netting or hitching him up in the cold.

I suppose it�s all right to filter out the bad so that yesteryear looks so good in retrospect. However, we tend to glance backward through rose-colored glasses as we overlook the pitfalls of the past.

Frankly, it�s not easy for me to admit my aversion to things modern. I�ve grown accustomed to my old-fashioned ways. Phyllis puts it more pointedly. �You�re stuck in the mud; that�s what you are,� she says.

And so I�m going to join the avant-guard group, although I�ve always been a notorious foot-dragger. I�ll try to modify my age-old habits � but it won�t be easy.

As I stand to type this column on my old Smith-Corona, maybe there is an easier way after all?

� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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