They want to make me rich and tell me what my car is worth. They want to sell me a college degree and a Rolex watch. They want me to buy health supplies, medicines and furniture. They want to get me a date and to loan me money. And they never end.
I'm used to getting junk mail and sales calls during dinner. I'm used to television and radio commercials, newspaper ads and flyers on my windshield. Billboards don't faze me. And, while I've only seen people walking around wearing sandwich boards in old movies, I'm sure I could ignore them. What I hate about Internet ads is that they take so long to delete.
I have spent hours going to the "If you want to un-subscribe from this list …" places trying to un-subscribe. The same annoying ads came right back, bringing their friends with them. I've been told that if I just delete them quickly, they'll eventually go away. In how many centuries?
When I was more innocent, I thought these ads were interesting. I had no idea there were so many get-rich-quick schemes or so many people trying to save me money. Do they really think I'm dumb enough to believe I can get a college degree in two weeks? Or maybe they think I'm smart enough.
I admit when it comes to computers I know only slightly more than I know about nuclear physics or Egyptian hieroglyphics. The fascination with technology has always escaped me. I have never been the first on my block to own anything. The last thing I want is to be the envy of the neighbors, and judging from the condition of our yard, I'm confident that I'm not.
When I was a college student, I took the test to become a licensed real estate salesman. Pocket calculators were fairly new, and, while I was by far the youngest person taking the exam, I was the only one without a calculator. Years later, when I was not the youngest, my wife and I went back to school only to find we were the only students not to own a computer. I didn't even own a word processor, but I did have an electric typewriter, having retired my 1945 manual.
My wife finally forced me into the computer age kicking and screaming. I now realize she was right, if for no other reason than for the children to be able to do school reports. I have often wondered what kids who don't have ready access to the Internet do when frantically finishing a school report. I know they can use computers in the library, but unless they're exceptionally organized, they'll still be working the night before the paper is due when the library is closed.
But you can't fight progress, even if it's not. Technology isn't going away, and I might as well make peace with it.
In the meantime, I'll just muddle through the best that I can, knowing I'll always be 10 years behind the mainstream and not really caring. I now only occasionally use the 25-year-old word processor, and I use calculators all the time. The Internet does provide useful information, and I wonder how I got along without e-mail. I've learned the fundamentals of a computer and would hate to write on anything else, even my old word processor. A digital camera and scanner can't be far behind, if I could just figure out how all of them work.
Maybe I could take a course in "electronic technology" or "trendy gadgets." Why, I can probably get an actual college degree. On-line. And in only two weeks. Did I really delete that ad? I don't even remember the name of the college.
Not to worry. There'll be another one tomorrow.
- T&D Correspondent John Ott can be reached by phone at 803-829-3638.