As Father Time approached Baby New Year, I caught him whispering something in the child's ear. The news couldn't have been anything good because it led to a frown.
More unemployment maybe? Higher gas prices? More foreclosures? Another conflict perhaps?
Whatever may be in store for 2012, count on progress being somewhere in the mix. For better or worse. Is the world moving too fast? Are we keeping pace with technology? One of my children has no home telephone and doesn't know what a postage stamp looks like.
Like him, the other two let their cell phones do the talking and figuring. They could go for months inside a fallout shelter and still keep in touch with the outside world.
Maybe it's me. The older I get, the less tolerance I seem to have for progress. You're looking at the guy who balked when electric typewriters replaced the manual. When computers came along, I came very close to leaving journalism because I felt intimidated by all this jazz.
I also felt the same way about microwaves, DVD players, and iPods. When Blackberries hit the market, I thought they were something you threw into a cereal bowl.
You know what they say. Progress always means change ... but change doesn't always mean progress. Stretching the point, city traffic, for example, moved faster in the horse-and-buggy days.
I finally saw the movie "The Time Machine." Being a big science fiction buff and aficionado of H.G. Wells, I enjoyed the book back in my high school days but somehow never saw it screened until a friend loaned me his copy.
In it, the lead character invents this concoction that travels through time. He finally lands in the year 8,000 and the world he sees is hardly what he would ever imagine. The moon has shattered and the human race is divided into two classes — those who live by light and others prone to darkness.
No cars. No fancy clothes. Not even a restaurant or a plaza. They just exist — one race above the ground and the other below — keeping out of each other's way. I wonder if time will become our greatest enemy, not that I'll be around to see it.
As the years tend to manifest themselves and the earth evolves, each new year becomes a gift. If I were incapacitated, time would then be a curse. No one wants to be a burden to their family, let alone themselves.
Much as my mother used to say, "Son. Never get old," time waits for no one. We make the best of it because life is a precious gift. So long as I see the sun rise and the gleam in a grandchild's eye, then each day carries a blessing.
I don't need a television with 228 stations, nor 46 varieties of ice cream from which to choose. I don't need a fancy car with seat warmers and jet-propelled cylinders that can break the sound barrier. One suit is all that's found in my closet, not one for each day.
Keep the devices that access books with the touch of a finger. I enjoy reading books the old-fashioned way, hand-held and seated in my easy chair. Same with newspapers. They still serve a very unique purpose. You'll never see anyone making a mad dash in a downpour with a computer over their head.
I still work out with a walkman plugged into my ears, not an iPod. Not that the sound is any better but what would I do with all the cassettes I've collected over time? Or my records? I still play them on a turntable, purely for nostalgia sake.
"You can sell them on eBay and make a tidy sum," a friend suggested. "There are collectors who pay big money for rare records and books."
Never been on eBay and wouldn't know how to access it if I tried. Same with the TV remote. Should something go wrong, I'm in a panic mode and call my 7-year-old grandson. He's got all the electronic answers.
I should have called him when I lost the connection to my Internet. Much as I tried everything, nothing worked. I kept staring at a blank screen and got more frustrated by the hour. My wife was no help. She stayed clear of the whole mess
"I'm calling the technician," I told her. "Seems like we have a defective computer line."
I managed to get an appointment in three days which seemed like an eternity. The fix-it man showed up, pushed a few buttons, then solved the dilemma.
He hit the "A" key on the top line of my computer and presto! Only cost me $60 for a house call.
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Photographer and writer Tom Vartabedian is retired from the Gazette. He contributes this regular column.