Why does Information Technology (IT) keep getting smaller? First, the standard was a desktop PC. Then, my university's IT office issued me a laptop. "You can take it with you when you travel." Great… now I can never be out of touch with my beloved colleagues or my revered boss.
Then came the Apple iPad. The iPad is sort of a glass-half-full-or-half-empty kind of gadget. Either you see it as half a laptop or twice an iPhone. I think you can guess how I see it.
With each iteration, my keyboard gets smaller. With each passing year, my eyesight gets worse. Now what's wrong with this picture?
Worst of all is my "smart phone." I can't deny it's smarter than me… it outsmarts me every day. Can you read your email on a screen the size of your bifocal lens? I can't.
They want me to send text messages - it's more efficient than calling. Meanwhile, my thumb can cover half a dozen of the phone's tiny keys at once. Could be great for encrypted messages, perhaps, but not so great if I just want to tell my secretary I'll be back in the office by three.
I give up. Uncle! Just surgically implant a chip behind my ear, stitch a keyboard to my left arm between the elbow and the wrist, fit me with contact lenses that are actually flat screens… then drop me in a ditch and bury me!
Okay, I'll admit that Apple has taken a scene from Zoolander and made it a reality. I am, of course, talking about the scene in which Ben Stiller, playing a moronic but always-trendy male supermodel, takes a postage stamp-sized object out of his pocket - his cool new cell phone. When the movie came out ten years ago, that scene got belly laughs. After all, who would ever want a piece of technology that ridiculously small? But watching it today? Oh, that's right. We would.
As part of the technology generation, though, I say thank goodness we have something going for us! In a world where books like The Dumbest Generation are being written about Generation Y, a world where baby boomers are retiring later and later in life, and a world where the economy is bad and job prospects worse, isn't it only fair that we youngsters have one or two advantages?
Can I help it if I find myself looking on in barely-contained glee as my dad struggles in vain to catch up with the latest technological innovation? You see a put upon man with bad eyes, but I see a career opportunity. And believe me, I have to take them where I can get them.
So maybe you think we're a little overzealous when it comes to our tech toys. Sure, we may text while we drive and endanger our lives and the lives of others - but at least we're making life exciting! Maybe some of us do have the attention span of a gnat, but then again, we're phenomenal at multitasking. Lastly, we may be the only link you have to the constantly changing and increasingly valuable world of social networking. Yes, proficiency in Tweeting is something we're encouraged to include on our resumes now.
So please, next time you think about making fun of the so-called children of technology, remember: you're not getting any younger, and it won't be so long before you find that even Google has become an incomprehensible mystery. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help - we're here for you! But we do require a starting salary and a cubicle to call our own, at the very least.
(Jim Castagnera, formerly of Jim Thorpe, and his daughter Claire, provide freelance writing and editing services under the name K&C Human Resource Enterprises. Claire, a 2010 graduate of Washington College, is a freelance writer and artist. Jim is a Philadelphia lawyer and journalist, managing director of K&C Human Resource Enterprises, and legal counsel to a New Jersey university.)