Technical Schmecnical

There are a lot of people today who live on the bleeding edge of technology. They eagerly responded to their Google+ invitations, have the latest iPhone & Kindle and can text as fast as a twelve year old girl. Then, there are my parents.

They made the conscious decision years ago not to go for the latest fad. Take the microwave oven for example. They were quite concerned that it could adversely disrupt the function of a pacemaker (not that they have one). When I told my mom that she could bake a potato in 8 minutes, she said, “I’m in no rush”. They weren’t believers in technology for technology’s sake (or for that matter, anyone else’s sake) and saw no need to jump on the push button phone bandwagon or even the electronic typewriter craze of 1968. They are even quite content on driving to the bank, standing on line and having to know what the hours of operation are (generally banker’s hours); only to make a withdrawal of $20. Although we were raised Jewish, maybe they’re some Amish blood in our family tree.

Dad is completely satisfied with the Royal typewriter that he’s used since the mid 1940’s. Although the letters are a bit misaligned along with the spacing, and occasionally a letter is red vs. black, it has been his trusted tool of the trade throughout his career as a CPA. He did purchase an adding machine in the ‘70s, but wasn’t satisfied and preferred totaling columns in his head and then transcribing the totals onto green ledger accounting pads. It never dawned on me that this was strange; being that he actually was an accountant. Recently he ran out of his 30 year supply of carbon paper and combo red/black typewriter ribbons and I had to purchase replenishments for him on Ebay as they are now considered collectibles.

I wonder what the IRS thinks of the tax returns he submits. This year he said to me, “You’re in the data processing field. Can you go to the world wide web and print me my tax forms” since they were no longer available at his local Post Office (which might be the next thing to be obsolete) and he couldn’t use the phone IVR system since he doesn’t have a push button phone. He specifically requested 8 different forms, their NJ State equivalents and 4 copies of each in case he makes a mistake. I started downloading the forms and printing them, but it would have used up a few pricy ink cartridges, a ream of paper and about an hour to collate and then deliver them to him. Luckily the IRS.gov had a mail delivery option. Yes, tax software would be a good suggestion for Dad if he had a computer. There will be no using Turbo Tax for him; He puts each paper form into the typewriter along with a piece of carbon paper and a duplicate form and enters all the required information sometimes pausing to use some White Out (another item available on Ebay). The process is arduous with today’s complicated tax laws and multiple schedules, worksheets and forms. Then he folds a large manila envelope so it will fit into the typewriter and addresses his tax return. When it’s complete it looks pretty much like a ransom note from a deranged kidnapper.

My parents have reluctantly embraced some technology out of necessity. They have adapters in many of their electrical outlets to accommodate their (relatively) new 3 prong appliances and had to reluctantly subscribe to cable TV since their rabbit-ear antennas were a safety hazard. Maybe they have the right idea – they saved a lot of money ignoring the rise and fall of the fax. They have never sent nor received one and are none the worse. Since I can’t IM them when one of our kids return home safely from a trip, they insist I give them the “signal”. That’s where I call them and hang up quickly (less than 6 rings at their age) to avoid the long distance charges (they’re not aware that nobody pays long distance charges these days, but I’m pretty sure they still do).

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2 Comments

Filed under Humor, Irony, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Technical Schmecnical

  1. Awesome read Larry! My folks are not that behind, but subscribe to the same principal. Both my ‘rents were IT people (Imagine that?). Yet, they always found a way to contract viruses and had to buy several computers in their time. They only got high-speed internet 4 years ago. And my father is so paranoid about identity theft that his profile pic on his Facebook page is food. But, you know what, I love their little quirks! Wouldn’t want them to change a thing…..

  2. Larry – funny post. Although I am a technophile, I do have one quirk, which I wrote about not too long ago: http://donstaffin.blogspot.com/2010/01/writing-on-wall.html

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