Blog: Technologically Challenged

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Burt Ross

To say I am technologically challenged is like saying the Titanic took on a little water — understatement in the extreme. I am also mechanically inferior, which is a most generous description of somebody who can’t even open the hood of his car. You heard it here first — we just flew past Pluto at a bazillion miles per hour, and I can’t even open the hood of my car.

Let me be candid — if all mankind were eliminated from our planet and I the sole survivor, fire and the wheel would never be invented. This statement is not an exaggeration but an absolute fact. Mankind would be returned to the Stone Age never to evolve.

I recently purchased an iPhone. Please do not ask me which model. I haven’t a clue. It’s the one that takes photos, is a flashlight and I think serves as an inflatable life raft if you need one. It might even make phone calls. I think calling it a “smartphone” is a misnomer. It assumes the user is smart and knows how to use it. I am not smart and don’t know how to use it. I guess we could call my phone “a not-so-smart phone.”

I tried to answer the phone the other day and somehow took a photo of my lap instead. I’m beginning to understand how Anthony Wiener got in trouble. The same day, I apparently made a pocket call, and when I retrieved my phone, I saw a partially clad friend of mine atop his toilet — not what I want to ever see again.  

And then there is Siri. God bless her. She and I are obviously speaking different languages. I asked her whether the cheetah is, in fact, the fastest animal on the planet. Her answer was perplexing to say the least, “Yes, cashews grow in Hawaii.” As was said in the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” “what we have here is failure to communicate.”

I come by my lack of handiness honestly. Neither of my parents could replace a light bulb. They were great parents, but not in matters of the hand. My mother spent much of her day searching for her car keys, which were buried deep in her handbag, which also served as a valise.

My father, who founded Evans Rule Company — at the time the world’s largest manufacturer of steel tape measures and folding wooden rules — could not draw a straight line, even with the help of one of his rulers. 

Whenever they needed help in fixing anything, there was one simple solution — Uncle Bernie. My uncle could do anything with his hands. Replacing batteries, gluing something back together again, changing a tire — no challenge was too great for my Uncle Bernie.

My iPhone is ringing now so I have to try to figure out what to do. I wish my Uncle Bernie were still around to help.