It’s Not Easy, Being a Dinosaur

Source of image: Old Cars


My maternal grandfather was born in 1907: one year before the model-T Ford was made available to the public. It would be almost two decades before cars would become widely popular in North America but my young grandfather – always a clever and resourceful man – quickly espoused this newfangled technology. He built a ramp right in his own yard which he dug out of a nearby embankment and he always did his own car repairs. Money was tight and a car was already a luxury: I’m not sure he ever had to go to a mechanic.

I can only imagine how much his knowledge and resourcefulness would have impressed his parents, who were born in an entirely different era, back in the 1800s. They would have been dinosaurs, in comparison to my grandparents.

On a recent phone call, my mother was telling me of the time she and my Dad bought my grandparents their first microwave oven, sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. For all the wonders my grandparents would have witnessed – from the widespread availability of electricity to finally getting running water sometime in the late 40s – Mom told me that nothing compared to their wonderment of being able to heat something in mere minutes (!!!) in that new microwave oven. They excitedly looked around for something to try in this new contraption and came up with… a potato. Each.

Mom told me this story with a mixture of joy, wonder and pride. She and Dad felt so… cosmopolitan… to be introducing such a modern invention to her parents, who came from a bygone age.

For most of my career, my parents referred to me as a ‘teacher’. While teaching is a noble profession, it always irritated me a little, as I had only taught for 2 or 3 years in my mid-twenties before moving on to project development and coordination in the field of adult literacy. But project coordination was a hard concept to explain, and my parents never seemed to ‘get’ it. Eventually, I stopped correcting them.

Back in the mid 2000s, when I was in my early forties, my parents made the seven-and-a-half-hour drive to my place to come for a visit. I had just gotten back from a conference where I had been presenting a workshop on the goals of the organisation I worked for. My presentation was in the form of a PowerPoint and happened to neatly sum up every thing I ‘did’ at work. I asked my parents if they would like to see it, and when they enthusiastically agreed, I quickly cleared a wall in my home of pictures, turned on my laptop, connected it to the compact little projector I used to travel with and proceeded to deliver my presentation.

If I had been granted the Order of Canada, right there in my living room, I do not think my parents could have been prouder. I can still see Dad – chest puffed with pride – as he and Mom sat watching me deliver that presentation and learning a bit about how their daughter really earned a living (not teaching).

What they were clearly most impressed with, however, was not my job description, but rather, my (ah-hem) ‘advanced’ mastery of all that newfangled technology. They were quite literally in awe.

I had bought my first home computer just a few short years before (1997) and went from not even knowing how to turn the thing on, to doing all of my writing and journaling on the screen. The same applied at work: in a few short years, we went from submitting our handwritten work for the secretarial staff to ‘type up for us on their typewriter’, to carrying out all of our work-related tasks at our own work stations. It was an exciting time: I had been regaling my parents with stories of learning to navigate e-mails, the fax machine, WordPerfect (remember that?) the World Wide Web, and even solitaire. Solitaire!!! (the latter on the train, no less, when I was travelling for work)

I felt like such a modern woman back then: so capable; competent and contemporary!

My parents were dinosaurs in comparison.

What I hadn’t yet figured out but would quickly learn, is the biggest problem with computer technology is that whatever you have just mastered is likely already obsolete by the time you have figured it out. Unless you are a technological genius (and wealthy), you simply cannot keep up with technology. You are always going to be scrambling five steps behind.

Worst of all: the day will come – if it hasn’t already – when you will find yourself irritating your kids simply by opening your mouth and saying something like, “I don’t understand how this new phone works,”; “I don’t trust online banking”, or worst of all, anything starting with: “In my day…”

You will know you sound just like your parents by the way your adult children roll their eyes at you.

And once the eye-rolls start, nothing else is going to matter. You may have lived long enough to have witnessed the introduction of dozens of inventions to the world. You may have lived long enough to have figured out a million basic truths about life.

Unfortunately, all your kids are going to see is a dinosaur.

Despite the fact that you won’t be alive to see it, perhaps you can glean some small comfort in the knowledge that one day, they too, will be the dinosaurs…

Patti Moore Wilson ©


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

21 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy, Being a Dinosaur”

  1. Patti, so true that when I was younger, I thought people who were the age I am now were “old.” Back then, I just figured they didn’t know how the world worked in that moment, didn’t promote good advice, etc. And here we are now, and the roles have been reversed. I don’t in any way feel like a dinosaur, and can only hope young people think of me in a less harsher light than I projected when I was their age. The best to you and yours for 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to much of what you wrote. My mother still refers to me as a reporter. I haven’t worked in that role in decades, but that’s okay. Here’s another strange experience, the look of pride my grown kids have when their dinosaur dad has figured out a piece of tech they didn’t think he would know. 😜😝😝

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a charming tale! My kids already roll their eyes at me when I mix up things like “twitch” and “discord” or say something like “I miss the days when we didn’t have to subscribe to dozens of apps to just watch the good TV shows.” Time moves quickly, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry!!! Another comment I missed, Bridgette 🙄 Yes, it’s almost hilarious, how quickly we go from being totally hip (or cool, or whatever the word is now) to being a relic worthy of the disdain only a teenager can truly send your way with the casual roll of an eye 🙄🙄🙄


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