Some High Tech is Okay—I Suppose.
Regular followers of this blog know of my disdain for all this high tech stuff we live with today; especially anything to do with computers in light of my many battles with said maddening beast, and the Internet, that I have written about in the past.
Some high tech is okay—I suppose. Since I have become a writer, I will admit I do enjoy the over-type feature of today’s word processors and typewriters. Were it not for that, in view of my tendency toward short patience, my stories and blog posts in all likelihood mightn’t have come into being . I certainly don’t miss that wastepaper basket sitting at my feet full of balled up sheets of paper thrown there after my numerous typing mistakes and rewrites.
On the other hand, I observe youngsters walking around engrossed in some kind of hand held electronic game on their i-pod, i-pad, smart phone, or whatever other electronic device is available to them, and I shake my head in wonderment as I’m quickly transported back to my own youth. Just so you don’t misunderstand me, I’ll be quick to admit that there are programs that can be loaded onto an i-pod that can be used as good learning tools. I have observed this with my grandson, but I think these modern times and these high tech games might be cheating today’s youngsters out of one of life’s greatest treasures–creative imagination.
My generation had no electronic games. We had no remote controlled toys that broke down after a short period of use, or that were equipped with batteries that kept running down. Because kids of my generation had no TVs or computers to sit in front of for hours on end, we had to create our own entertainment, and we had to supply the power to our toys; which was always hand power. About the only time we spent in the house was to listen to our favorite radio programs, which required the use of our imaginations to create the various scenes depicted in the stories being aired. That was great fun.
I sometimes wonder if these high tech electronic games and toys have a tendency to stifle imaginative thinking, which, in turn, leads to boredom. How can kids not eventually become bored with something that has finite programming? On the other hand, there is no limit to the imagination.
When I was a youngster, we’d make fighter planes that flew only when we carried them aloft in our hand. But—boy oh boy—the maneuvers those planes could do were limited only by what we could not imagine. The engine roar and machine gun fire came from our own mouths as we imagined them to sound. Sometimes, we might get a bit more creative and build a fighter plane or bomber in the back yard that we could actually sit in and imagine we were flying in combat. These were usually crafted from large cardboard boxes or wooden orange crates appropriated from the local merchants, and some wood planks that might happen to be laying around.
Some of these planes even became quite sophisticated. We had a large empty lot next to our house, and it seemed Dad always had ample scraps of lumber and a few empty cans stored there that made good material for a young boy’s fertile imagination to put to good use. My companions and I would lay planks on the ground for the wings. The cardboard and wood boxes were then laid perpendicular to these planks to make the fuselage.
The bombers even had engines made from empty five gallon buckets attached to these wings. We’d lay these buckets on their sides on top of the wings with the bottom end of these cans facing to the front. We’d drive a nail through wood slats, and then drive this nail with slats attached to it, through the bottom of the bucket and, walla, we had wing mounted engines with propellers. ( I won’t mention Dad’s frustration when he discovered his gas cans had a hole in the bottom. That’s another story.) 🙂 I think we even figured a way to simulate the controls for these planes, as well. When it came time to take off, we’d climb into these “B-17” bombers for a bombing run someplace in the Pacific, or Germany, depending to which theater of the war our imaginations had us stationed at the time.
When we tired of fighting World War II, there were the Western games; Calvary vs. Indians; cowboys vs. the cattle rustlers, horse thieves, and bank robbers. These games were spawned from the Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, and Gene Autry movies. The weapons used were cap pistols or wooden pistols and rifles sawed with a coping saw from orange crate slats. We’d paint the barrels of these wooden weapons black, the pistol grips white, and the rifle stocks the customary brown. Many a bad guy was brought to justice with these weapons.
When we tired of playing with our toys, which by today’s, standards, would be called crude, we would go fishing, (usually with willow fishing poles) or bike riding; or we would gather beer and pop bottles from the barrow pits to gain a little extra spending money. We would go swimming in the canal, or our favorite river swimming hole. In the winter we would go sleigh riding on the snow packed village streets, and ice skating on the frozen canal along the north edge of town.
Yep, the youngsters today think they’ve got it real good with all these fancy high tech toys; and while technology is nice, to a degree, I still think the toys of my generation stimulated the imagination, and were a whole lot more fun. 🙂
If you’d like to read more about these kinds of escapades, you might enjoy by book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures about a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s. You can obtain a free sample by clicking on the free download button at upper right of this page and receive the prologue and first three complete adventures of Buddy’s. The book is also available for purchase at www.amazon.com. Enjoy.