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SENIOR: Befuddle by technology

Am I the only old timer who is bedazzled and befuddled by the array of electronic gadgets available today for those folks who have the patience and know-how to operate them?...

Am I the only old timer who is bedazzled and befuddled by the array of electronic gadgets available today for those folks who have the patience and know-how to operate them?

When I get a three or four page list of so called, easy instructions I frequently take the lazy way out and decide that I'll continue to use the old fashioned method.

On my volunteer driving routes, I often see young ladies behind the automobile wheel with a cell phone in one hand and an array of stuff readily available to her on the dash. Multi-tasking? Are you kidding?

She should be teaching it at WITC. She could write the textbook for the course! She may also have a child or two in the car with her (maybe a large dog in the back of a station wagon) and be checking her hairdo simultaneously.

I have had a lifetime habit of paying my bills upon arrival. So when I note a discrepancy, I dial their business office number. And now begins a song and dance that has become most distractingly distressful for me.

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First I get some pleasant listening music and a recorded modulated pleasant voice saying that my call is very important to them and to await their specific instructions. The music is not annoying yet and in not too long a wait, there comes another recorded message with a lengthy menu of second numbers available for a long list of options. I may not detect one that sounds like what I am seeking on the first round and may have to await a second lengthy play.

Then I find, when using the first menu number selected, that I have obviously not selected correctly. Another prerecorded menu gives me another list of possibilities. In earlier days, I could hit the 0 button for operator and get an English speaking, live individual, relatively soon and get the help needed. That option evidently did not allow sufficient profit for the corporation so they have reduced their number of employees. And so the contest of wits goes on, which I am losing along with my temper. Very stressful. I hope it hasn't happened to you, but I bet it has.

I have formulated a plan that might work which I haven't implemented as yet. It will necessitate my becoming a late payer and paying only the late amount that I believe to be correct. When they call to obtain what they believe is the correct amount and note my late payment they will receive a recorded phone menu of messages that will go somewhat like this. Press:

1. To make an appointment to see me. (A few unusual times for business day people will be available.)

2. To query a late payment.

3. To make a specific inquiry or state a general concern.

4. To transfer the call to the dining room phone at meal time.

5. To transfer the call.

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6. To transfer the call to my cell phone in the event I am not home.

7. To leave a message on my computer for which a password number needed which will be communicated at a later date following this message.

8. Return to the main menu and listen to the seven items for a better choice. I will welcome any suggestions for improvement that you would care to share. I don't think that we've experienced the full thrust of this electronic age yet. Maybe we old timers would be most apprehensive if we knew what was awaiting in the wings.

My attempt at humor today (a bit different style) came to me because of our local candidates running for judge. They will consider themselves lucky that Superior is a larger city than the one in the following story:

A small town prosecuting attorney was addressing his first witness on the stand -- an elderly, motherly type, "Mrs Jones, do you know me?"

"Why yes, I do Mr. Williams. I've known you since your were a boy. Frankly, you've been a disappointment. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk behind their back. You think you're a big-shot, but haven't the brains to realize you're nothing more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you!"

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what to do, he pointed at the defense attorney asking, "Mrs Williams, do you know the defense attorney?" to which she replied, "Yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster too. I even baby sat him. He, too, has been a big disappointment. He's lazy, bigoted and has a drinking problem. His law practice is the shoddiest in the state. Yes, I know Mr. Bradley!"

At this point, the judge rapped the gavel several times for order and silence and called up both lawyers, saying threateningly "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be in jail within five minutes for contempt of court!"

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Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com .

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