As the very model of the modern middle-aged man, I can say with great certainty and no small amount of confusion that when it comes to modern technology, I am still in the Middle Ages.
In 1999, for example, I decided to get into the 20th century before it was over, so I got e-mail. Now, a decade into the 21st century, I am not much further advanced.
Recently, however, I got a new computer. I will not identify the brand except to say that it is the Apple of my eye.
The computer is fun and, even for an idiot such as myself, pretty easy to use. Still, I figured I should take advantage of the year's worth of lessons that were included in the purchase, so I went to the computer store for an introductory session with a very nice and, of course, very knowledgeable young man named Dave.
"What's the most important thing you need to know about your new computer?" Dave asked.
"Can it pick next week's winning lottery numbers?" I wondered.
"Only mine can," Dave said. "And I plan to quit next week, so it's a good thing you came in today."
Timing is everything, and while Dave was still working I thought I would pick his brain because, unfortunately, there isn't much of my own to pick, especially when it comes to computers.
"I don't need a lot of bells and whistles," I said.
"They'd only keep you awake at night," Dave noted.
"Unless I turned off the computer before I went to bed," I responded.
"At least you know how to turn your computer off," Dave said. "Some people can't even do that."
I felt smarter already. Then I told Dave that I needed to know how to open documents because I'm a writer.
"What do you write?" he asked.
"Stuff that has no redeeming social value," I answered.
"You mean you're a newspaper columnist?" Dave said.
"How did you know?"
When Dave mentioned compatibility issues, I said, "I don't have compatibility issues. I've been married for almost 32 years."
"You just say yes a lot," replied Dave, who is 26 and unmarried but wise beyond his years.
"Yes," I said.
We talked about surfing the Web.
Me: "I once took a surfing lesson, but I couldn't even stand up on the board."
Dave: "Now you can hang 10 while sitting down."
We talked about menus.
Me: "Can I make dinner on my computer?"
Dave: "No, but you can store a lot of recipes."
Dave had an answer for everything. And no wonder. He has a master's degree in arts and liberal studies. Before becoming a computer whiz, he taught music to kindergartners.
"Technologically speaking, I'm a kindergartner," I said.
"Yes," Dave agreed, "but you're not as loud."
Then he told me about a fifth-grader who comes into the store to take lessons in Final Cut Pro. "It's a movie editing program," Dave explained. "He could be the next Steven Spielberg."
"It would be all geek to me," I said.
This time Dave didn't say anything. He just nodded. But he did, in 50 minutes, get me up and running on my new computer. He also proved to be the most entertaining techie I have ever met.
I had such a good time that I am going to schedule another lesson soon. I just hope Dave doesn't win the lottery by then.
Stamford Advocate columnist Jerry Zezima is the author of "Leave It to Boomer." More info at www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com. E-mail: JerryZ111@optonline.net.
Copyright 2010 by Jerry Zezima