Whatever happened to Lester, Chuck and Tom?
I’ve fallen behind… and yet there may be hope


I remember watching some show several years ago… I can’t recall specifically what awards were being presented, but it was one of the many shows that are broadcast each year handing out recognition for music of some kind.

And I didn’t know a single thing recorded by any of the nominees. Heck… I hadn’t even heard of most of the nominees.

A friend of mine told me that it was a sure sign I was getting older and losing touch with the world around me. Or, at least, losing touch with being young. And I couldn’t argue the point.

But it’s not just music that has me scratching my head or wondering what happened to the good old days.

I couldn’t give you a single reason why any person needs to be able to watch an episode of some television show on their cell phone. I’m not even saying I can’t give you a good reason why they need such ability… I can’t give you a bad reason either.

And so it goes that day after day… I take a step or two forward, while seemingly falling three steps back. And yet, occasionally I see hope that eventually I may move on beyond my ignorance… perhaps to a higher stage of enlightenment. Acceptance? Maybe. Is acceptance a higher stage? Indifference isn’t quite right. I suppose an example is in order.

My parents will tell me they don’t know how to use their computer while asking me for help with it. My qualifications for solving their computer issues? I’m younger than they are. So therefore, I must know. It’s the same when they ask me about their cell phones and e-mail attachments. Apparently they’ve decided that it’s the technology of my generation, so I must be more qualified to solve it than they are. And I usually don’t know how to solve their computer problems and have no clue what to do with their cell phones. In fact, they can do more with their cell phones than I can with mine.

(Honestly? I’m often stunned I know how to turn my computer on.)

I rarely use my cell phone. I’m not scared of it. I just more or less subscribe to the theory that when I’m driving my car or taking a walk or in some way just happen to not be sitting next to a phone, it’s ok that you can’t get in touch with me.

And all of this talk about my parents and technology and contact brings us to the example of which I wrote a few moments ago… Facebook.

See… both of my parents have Facebook pages.

I don’t. I have this web site. I’ve had it since March of 2003. (Hello to all of you dedicated and long time followers of the Backpack!) I’m not completely out of the loop when it comes to having a presence on the internet. And yet…

I can’t say my inbox is flooded with e-mails from old friends and long lost acquaintances that want to contact me. Most of them haven’t visited the Backpack. (And many of those that have I can’t exactly call regulars.) The fact of the matter is… my parents, the older ones, the supposedly out of touch with modern technology and lost when it comes to the modern day… are more connected to it than I am.

I’ve fallen behind. But in watching them… maybe there is a glimmer of hope… that eventually I will clear my thoughts, gain that elusive enlightenment, and reconnect. (Again… I don’t know if it will be acceptance or indifference that pushes me across the finish line to that point though.)

What I can tell you is that in the past few weeks I’ve had two friends ask me if I have a Facebook account. And… well… it’s time for another story.

A few years ago I was visiting a web site that I found through NaNo (National Novel Writing Month… or NaNoWriMo… or just NaNo). On this guy’s site, he had set up a page for long lost friends. On it, he included a brief passage with how he knew this person or that person, some details about when he lost touch with them, a few other bits of information, and maybe even a picture. His hope was that perhaps each of them might find the page and contact him. Or maybe a current friend of one of them would see it and pass along his best wishes and contact information.

I thought it was brilliant. It was different and nice to see. And those of you that use Facebook… or are even vaguely familiar with it… know that this is actually an effort, attempted in a slightly different way, that has successful and happy endings all the time. Old friends find each other and reconnect. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?

And so when these friends of mine asked about Facebook and me, I must admit, I was tempted. But I’m going to say no. (At least for now.)

There are lots of people I’d love to hear from once again. There are several people I’d like to reconnect with, find out how life is treating them, and maybe get together with over dinner. Introduce them to my wife and family… perhaps give Molly and Gus an opportunity to slobber on someone new. And… dare to dream… I’d like to think that perhaps there are a few old friends that think of me every now and then, and honestly wish me well.

For now though, I’m going to take the dogs for a walk. I won’t have my cell phone with me. I’ll just be enjoying the sights and sounds of the neighborhood, and perhaps the smell of a fireplace in the crisp winter air. And for those friends that know how to leave a message so I’ll find it, I’ll get back to you. And some day… perhaps… just perhaps… I’ll even have a Facebook page.

(But first, I do have a question about the latest music award nominees. Can I find any of their music in a local store? Or do I need to get one of those iPod things?)

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com