Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hand Held

We live in a remarkable time.  Those of us to have fantasies that are decades old are now in the position to be living some of these dreams.  I used to fantasize that I had a small TV screen I could take out of my shirt pocket and catch an important sporting event I was missing.  Of course, the smart phone now makes that possible.  In recent months I've been able to watch part of the Triple Crown or a Final Four game within inches of my shirt pocket.
As a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s all TV was black and white (for most of us) and big games and horse races were available only once a week.  Usually Saturday was the "game of the week" for baseball.  I fondly recall sneaking into our living room, opening the double wooden doors to our Packard Bell TV and defying all authority by turning on a baseball game. There was only one dial to click and one to turn for channel switching.   I had finished raking the leaves my family's big silver maple tree over supplied our front lawn with and while my dad was finishing up I started this cheating maneuver.  It was like the sweet taste of stolen watermelon.  It was seeing something I'm not supposed to see.  It was my secret.

Today, we often sneak a peak at our personal small screens.  We know we shouldn't do it and we really do try.  But sometimes our desires are connected to these ancient behaviors that won't go away.
Every generation seems to be on the cusp of lost technology.  Sometimes it requires an adjustment.  Very few folks read a newspaper these days.  The task of purchasing a paper form a newsstand or coin box is virtually gone in some places.  Print media continues to shrink.  But what is lost and what is gained?
As a thoroughbred horse enthusiast, I still cling to the ritual of reading the Daily Racing Form.  The publication that once cost  quarter is now $6.  But the pleasure that comes from handicapping a race and then marking the form with colored ink  just can't be replaced by a computer screen.  Oh I know the day is coming when consumable publications on newsprint will be a thing of the past, but for now all the more reason to cling to and savor the experiences.  Those coming after will never know anything different and then the day will come when old timers will long for the online version of something that has been replaced by a new device.

If baseball, with it's techno soundtrack and horse racing with it's empty grandstands are to survive, they will no doubt have to make more adjustments.  Adjustments that we can follow by stealing a glance, from time to time, at an electronic hand-held device.

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