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Humor March 2014

The Old Gal

Will the Robots Still Love Me Tomorrow?

By Anne Ashley

Do you know that you can now get a computerized toothbrush that lets you know you when you’ve sufficiently brushed your teeth? Conceivably, it buzzes or shuts off or electrocutes you when the task has been completed. Seriously!

In days gone by a good indication that you were getting old was when teachers and policemen started to look too young to do their jobs.  Another clue was a change in your choice of music. One minute, there you are, rhythmically gyrating to some deeply profound rap artist and his intellectual insights and the next thing you know, you’ve come over all reflective and melancholy at the first note of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Another hint that you’re approaching codgerdom is a sudden desire to forgo foolish pastimes. One minute, there you are, strapping yourself by the sock-clad ankles to a large rubber band, voluntarily throwing yourself head first off a cliff or a skyscraper, and the next thing you know, you’re researching remote cabins in the mountains somewhere, longing for two weeks of solitude and the safety of good old terra firma.

Although, to be fair, even in my blissfully ignorant youth, I never once considered bungee jumping exciting or entertaining. It never made sense to scare myself to near unconsciousness as a form of amusement! Being taught to drive by my older and somewhat resentful sister satisfied any daredevil tendencies I might have possessed. 

However, with the advancement of technology and the digitalization of everything – and I do mean everything: do you know that you can now get a computerized toothbrush that lets you know when you’ve sufficiently brushed your teeth? Conceivably, it buzzes or shuts off or electrocutes you when the task has been completed. Seriously!

Is it me or has society gone microchip nuts? Just because we have the intelligence doesn’t mean we should transform everything into transformers! What was wrong with manually pushing a brush back and forth over our teeth until they were pearly white? It was advancement enough for me when toothbrushes became battery operated. Initially I was enthusiastic about a seemingly more efficient method of eliminating tooth decay. But every morning I’d forget to brace myself for the moment the motor kicked in and I’d end up with toothpaste splattered all over my mirror and surrounding wash basin. I finally gave up and reverted to the good old manual version when I realized I was spending more time cleaning the bathroom than I was my teeth! 

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes … technology. There are now more modern ways to gauge your imminent oldness.

The new and improved sign that curmudgeonhood is just around the corner? Grocery stores.  There you are, standing in line, waiting to have your chosen items rung up by a delightful, if somewhat aloof cashier, and the next thing you know the happy humans have been replaced by a row of unmanned workstations, instructing us on how to unload, pay and bag our items.

Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to work at Cost Mart. There’s nothing wrong with the job, it‘s just that I don’t want to do it. It’s bad enough I have to collect the groceries from the shelves in the first place. No, if you want to thrill me with modern technology, replace my participation with a computer!

So, imagine my chagrin when I was left standing at what looked like an airport check-in terminal with a cart full of items and expected to scan them myself! I was promised by the ex-cashier that it was a much faster and more efficient process when she spotted the look of apprehension on my face.  Faster? It took me half an hour just to figure out how to activate the process!

Anyway, after a crash course in techno-grocery and a few swear words exchanged between me and the contraption, I eventually managed to get through the task – although I needed assistance twice (so much for the promise of a speedier experience)! 

No, similar to the toothbrush calamity, I will accept my advancing years and remain a devotee of the manual version of check-out. Although I fear that means I will be forced to shop at smaller and smaller establishments – but only until the Robo-Shopper becomes available!

 

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