Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Flashing 12 Generation

The time change happened a couple of weeks back, and as is my custom, the next morning I went around my home & moved all the clocks forward one hour. I mean, why have clocks showing the wrong time? Decoration?

Anyway, the process of re-setting my little world to the norms of the outside world got me thinking about my mom, and more broadly, her generation. Mom’s generation was definitely pre-computers, pre-digital, pre-anything but pencil and paper. Moving the clocks meant turning some button on the back that moved the minute hand forward 60 minutes. In contrast, I went to each of my digital clocks, held down the ‘Time’ button, and then clicked the ‘Hour’ button once. There – Spring Forward was accomplished.

My mother’s generation has been called The Greatest Generation, and I am not about to argue that moniker. Parents selflessly gave of themselves – fathers went to war, mothers raised their kids, and they complained very little about either. This was the American Dream of the 1950s. My parents bought a nice home in a nice suburban area, dad went to work dutifully each day, and mom got four kids ready and off to school each day. And then, in the case of my mom, she would get dressed and drive to an office somewhere and be a Bookkeeper.

Mom was a whiz with numbers. Oftentimes she would bring her work home with her, and after feeding all of us, would spend her evenings banging on an adding machine (the mechanical type, where you would punch the numbers, then pull a little bar down where the total was then printed on a roll of paper). Later, she relented and got a calculator - but with the roll of paper for an audit trail.

When computers hit the scene in the 90's mom was at the very end of her working career. She was approaching 70 years old, and when she finally balanced her last ledger, she wrote in the numbers, and, literally, closed the books. Her career was done.

But mine was really just getting going. And in my generation, the tool of necessity is the personal computer. At this minute I am typing this story in Word, and when it is done I will upload it to my blog.

A blog. Try explaining a blog to your parents.

Anyway, I remember trying to get my mom to embrace computers. I showed her neat Youtube vids of babies making faces or whatever, and she thought that was just grand. I then tried to use that bit of interest to explain to her, ‘You know, mom, anything you would ever want to know can be found right here.’ Want to take a trip somewhere? Don’t call the travel agent...fire up Expedia. Want to find a good restaurant in Medina? Google it – don’t flip open the yellow pages.

It was no use. My mom was institutionalized in the Old School ways of doing things. “I spent fifty damn years in the business world punching keys. I don’t have to punch anymore.” Okay mom. Just trying to help.

So what does this have to do with setting clocks after a time change? Well, how many of you have parents, where to this day, if you go to their homes, there’s a VCR (Forget DVD players) that has a flashing 12:00 displayed on it? And how often do you sit there thinking, ‘I could fix that in about ten seconds,’ and then you do, but then you go back a week later and there’s the flashing 12 again?

Our parents were brilliant, and my parents in particular sacrificed themselves for their children. For that I am eternally grateful.

But setting a digital clock or VCR? No clue.

So here’s to the Greatest Generation.

Or, if you prefer, the Flashing 12 generation.