Ryan Trares: Reckoning with being behind the times


It doesn’t take much to make me feel old these days.

Rolling over from bed causes popcorn popping in my joints and bones. Random aches appear from what appears to be thin air during the day. It’s harder and harder to recover from running in the morning.

But nothing made me feel like an ancient relic more than question after question from Anthony.

At 42 years old, life has changed drastically since I was born – especially when it comes to technology. When I was a kid, the pinnacle of entertainment was our Nintendo system, making Mario try to save the princess or blast birds from the sky in Duck Hunt.

Our family TV had quite a few channels when I was a kid, we didn’t get a VCR until I got into elementary school, and we got our first PC when I was in the sixth grade.

Even when I was in college in the early 2000s, if we wanted to ask someone a question or make plans to meet, we had to use landlines. Only a few people have cell phones.

Anthony couldn’t believe any of this.

Take, for example, the time he was playing his school iPad, doing some educational games they were working on in class earlier. He paused for a moment, then asked, “Dad, did you have an iPad at school when you were a kid?”

I had to explain to him that no, iPads weren’t invented when I was a kid. or a teenager. Or an adult in my twenties. Instead, all the tasks of our school were carried out in the worksheets. Some of it has even been done before on something called the same machine.

“Whaaaaaat!” Anthony shrieked, surprised that I even knew how to read without an iPad.

Again, we were watching funny YouTube videos on TV. He likes to watch tutorials about “Minecraft”, where famous viewers crack jokes and put his characters in ridiculous situations.

Again, he asked me what I was watching on YouTube when I was a kid. I had to explain that the video streaming site was only about 15 years old, after I graduated from college. If we wanted to watch a funny video, we had to wait to rent one from the local Blockbuster.

“What is the bomb?” Asked.

I realize that all of this makes me look really old – basically the living embodiment of Abby Simpson screaming in a cloud. I also realize that if Anthony thinks I was lame before, that doesn’t improve this situation.

But every time he asks me, I also have to smile. Once technology develops and advances, current trends will age faster and faster. Anthony will have to adapt much more quickly than ever.

He will do well, as every young man does with technology. But there will come a time when he will feel out of date.

And he can join me and all the other dinosaurs.

Ryan Traris is a reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]