Weather Forecast


Prime Time/Marilyn Heltzer: Tech communication can't compete with gardening

Back in the mid-'90s the term "digital divide" popped up. It's about the chasm that exists between people who have computers, and access to the Internet, and those who do not.

It's hard to believe that the divide still exists. Doesn't everybody have a computer? For us elders, most of us recognize the genre of Old People's emails that circulate throughout the Internet. Finding those emails in my IN box helped me develop a sense of humor about being on the far side of the 65-plus divide.

But here's the really pathetic thing. Even as we develop "undisclosed recipient" lists, know how to open, close, delete, forward, cut and paste and all the rest that makes us adept e-mailers, the fact of the matter is that we are close to being obsolete.

Yes, we know how to Google and search the net on our trusty laptops. But even with these skills we are, quite simply, behind the times.

So, my friend, do you have a Facebook account?

Do you Twitter?

Do you have an iPad?

And what about 4G?

Or a Smartphone?

And how about apps? Got your apps?

Do not ask me to elaborate because I can answer yes to only one of the above questions: the first one. Yes, I do Facebook. Our oldest daughter set me up with it two Christmases ago. And I'm easy when it comes to being friended. Sure. I'll be your friend. Why not?

I rarely go into Facebook. I know that some grandparents use it as a form of spying on their grandkids, but that's not thee nor me, of course. .

When I do go to my Facebook account, I don't post anything because I'm not sure who can read it. Does everything go up on my wall? If I comment on somebody else's entry, does the whole world see it? I do find Facebook a bit voyeuristic, if amusing. So thank you, Mark Zuckerberg. He, the inventor of Facebook is No. 35 on Forbes list of the Richest Americans, with $6.9 billion. Not bad for a 26-year-old. I do find it comforting that Warren Buffett, at 80, is the second richest American, behind Bill Gates. Who could be my son. And good grief! Zuckerberg could be my grandson!

But I digress. Facebook is helpful in locating people from my past, mostly a crop of folks about 20 years younger than I am whom I used to work with. And some 70-somethings who are (as we used to say) hip. I enter a name, peer at the small picture that comes up and think, "Yep. That's the woman I knew." For others, I enter the name and get a picture of some young chick in a far-off state who clearly got my friend's name 50 years after she did. I return to emailing the old pals I'm still in touch with.

I do claim this, however. I have a cell phone. And I know how to text. I read in a recent Sunday New York Times that telephoning is obsolete for whole generations coming up behind us.

Got something to say? Text. Except when kids are in school and surely not when they're driving. I admire the billboard at Bemidji High School that currently carries the message, "Drive Now, Text Later."

By the time you read this the world may have changed again. It's going that fast. Which is just one reason I'm looking forward to getting into my garden this spring. Cultivate, plant, water, hoe, weed, harvest, freeze.

The garden is a beautiful, simple world.

I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg has ever gardened.