Do you remember the days when Christmas commercials advertised products that you don’t have to be a techno-geek to use?
Like Timex watches. Dolly Madison cupcakes. Cowboy outfits. GI Joes. Barbie dolls.
Remember the Santa that rode on the Norelco electric razor across the snow bluffs?
Or, the Suzy Homemaker electric ovens that baked cookies with a light bulb?
Now it’s iPads and iPhones and laptop/tablets and televisions that you can move to any room in the house.
I feel a little left behind. That’s kind of like it has been in the practice of law.
The other day somebody needed me to sign a municipal bond. When cities or counties refinance bonds, the district attorney has to sign the papers. These are time-sensitive matters and I’ve driven from one side of the circuit to the other to accommodate.
Well this time, the law firm that prepared the papers went high-tech on me. They emailed the papers to me and wanted me to print the signature pages, sign them, scan them into my computer, and email them back. I managed to print them and sign. Then, I was lost. Fortunately, there are others around here who rescued me and we accomplished the task.
Cut me a little slack. In 1984, when I began the practice of law, we had these things in the office called books. When we needed to know the law, we opened them and read. Secretaries typed on IBM Selectric typewriters. We dictated our letters onto a dictating machine and secretaries typed them while they listened to the tapes. We used carbon paper to make copies unless you used the copy machine, which required you to peel a blue film from the back of the copy.
Then we bought our first word processor. It was a Lanier and it weighed about 80 pounds. It gave us the option to choose our fonts.
I had no idea what a font was.
It cost $15,000. That’s right. $15,000. That did include the printer. We paid $500 more for the printer case. You see, the printer was so loud that you couldn’t stay in the room with it. The case served two functions. First, it muffled the sound. Second, it anchored the printer to its location so that it didn’t hop all over the place while it printed.
A few years later, suddenly well-versed in technology, I bought my first cell phone. Bell South made it. It weighed about ten pounds and came in a leather bag with a shoulder strap so that you could carry it around with you. If you strained your neck in just the right way, you could get a sufficient signal to carry on a conversation.
So, forgive me if I lag a little when you start tweeting me or inviting me to befriend you on Facebook.
I’m still trying to figure out how to turn the computer on.