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Confessions of a 20th Century Man

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Since last spring, I have braved many technological breakthroughs. I wrote them out long-hand, but I can't read my writing. Then I typed them on my sweet Smith Corona, but turns out the typewriter ribbon has been shot for 20 years. So, I'm going new school and writing this on a computer. Bear with me.

April 6, 2012: I join the other half of the country and buy a smartphone. It's made by either Verizon, Samsung or Smartphone or something called 4G. Unclear as to the manufacturer -- and location of on-off button.

April 21: I dial my smartphone. My mother answers. She says she is having trouble hearing me. I hang up.

April 22: I didn't really hang up because I never pressed "End Call." Mother on the line indefinitely. She must have been worried sick.

June 15: Progress! I take a picture with my phone. It's a picture of my thumb taking a picture on my phone. I like my first picture given my thumbs are kind of my best feature.

July 3: "Take a picture of yourself," a friend suggests. "Something other than my thumb?" Yes, friend says. She shows me a button to make the camera take a self-portrait. I push the button. It doesn't work. Instead, a middle-aged man, wincing, dressed in identical clothes, is staring back at me. I become frightened and put the phone in a drawer.

Sept. 14: I'm pretty much an expert now on smartphones. I make calls, read emails and take pictures. Friends tell me I can also go online and find directions to restaurants and suspicious bars, and play word games and check the weather and time. I doubt any of this is true, but my 21st century friends mean well.

Sept. 15: Goodbye dear land line; hello misplacing my smartphone.

Jan. 1, 2013: New Year's resolution: Dedicating every waking moment to mastering what only a handful of people know: Facebook and Twitter.

Jan. 2: Facebook and Twitter require passwords. I can't handle more passwords at this time in my life. I don't even know my real name anymore.

Feb. 19: All right, all right, I join Facebook. I have no friends. Moments later, I have friends all of whom have no problem with the self-portrait feature. I see actual faces. More friends emerge. They write "There you are!" and "Good to see you!" I become frightened and sign off.

March 7: I join Twitter. I have followers, which is curious since I don't remember tweeting. But I feel a duty to my followers, so I ask a colleague, let's call him Savvy Younger Dude, to walk me through Twitter. Among his instructions:

"Type at."

I type at.

"No, not the word at. The uppercase 2 on your keyboard."

This is enough instruction for one day.

March 10: I'm a wild social media animal. I'm typing @@@@@ all over the place. I have so many friends I don't have time to say anything to any one of them. Tonight I think I'll call my mother to tell her about my personal breakthroughs.

Maybe I'll send a picture of my thumb -- just so she doesn't worry.