Born Too Late . . . and a Little Too Old to Care

When a person tells you she has to give a presentation in an academic setting and she is sort of whining about it, is it so wrong to respond, “What’s the big deal? You just stand in front of the chalkboard, point your stick and be careful when you pull down the map”?

I didn’t think so either.

But whoa, Nellie! I had hit a nerve. “You really need to embrace technology.”

I really don’t see what that had to do with anything.

“Classrooms are different now. We don’t use those things.” Then she yammered on and on about Smartboards and Powerpoints and all the fancy tools that do the work of what was once accomplished just fine by sticks, chalkboards and pull-down maps.

“So there you have it, class. Arithmetic is pretty simple, if you have the proper needlepoint skills.”

In the end, I knew she was right. And it made me sad. The technology train had left me behind in yet another realm of my antiquated existence. (Look for a future installment on my take on telecom. It scares some people. Others suck in their lips and nod their heads in sympathy.) I don’t spend a lot of time in college classrooms that require advanced technology, so all I can do is imagine that the only tool that remains the same from my generation to the current version is the map. (Hey, what happened to Rhodesia and Kampuchea?) So maybe it is a little different. But I assure you it is still a dangerous presence in the classroom. Spring-loaded and finicky, pull-down maps tend to roll up on a whim, spiraling out of control and causing a ruckus or, worse, an eye injury.

There was this awful girl in high school named Jeanie, and she was always the center of attention. The center of her attention, anyway. She was on the tennis team, and of course everyone knew it because she wore tennis skirts to class practically every day of the year. One day during class change, she walked into my U.S. history class, all the way from her history class, just to say “hi” to anyone who would listen, to spread her tennis cheer and to show everyone her tennis skirt. Of course, she was also sporting her tennis racket over her right shoulder, as if to explain the tennis skirt. As she sashayed past the pull-down map of the United States, with her wide gait and tennis-like ways, to greet whomever was in the back of the room, her racket snagged the corner of the map, ripping it from Maryland to Kansas.

Although 27 years have passed, I remember it like it was yesterday. Jeanie and her racket had to be stopped. And that was about the most awesome way to put an end to the whole charade.

When Martin approached the front of the room to deliver his presentation on the dissolution of the Soviet Republic, everyone knew it was an accident waiting to happen. While the map has been restored to its position, students have not yet returned to the classroom.

So, back to the subject at hand.  I am out of it. I am woefully, admittedly, proudly Out. Of. It. Shaun Cassidy’s best album was titled “Born Too Late.” That should be the title of this blog. And if you don’t know Shaun Cassidy, please, keep it to yourself.

“That’s right, Miss Peabody. Kids respond to hand waving and a snappy pair of shoes as well as anything. Don’t let technology scare you, Miss Peabody. We’ll help ease you through the transition. Tomorrow, we’ll add a laser pointer.”

In a sea of raised hands, Sandra didn’t let on that she had unplugged the Smartboard, rendering it useless and confusing her classmates.