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Location: marengo, il, United States

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

War of the Terms

Garza was a amiable young man, and wise. Garza always acted polite, even though he was strong and courageous. Garza understood humor and smiled a lot. He could be silly, but Garza rarely told funny stories. Garza could be best-described as an honest and likable man. I admired the good qualities of my Corporal Garza.

He might hold up his hand in the middle of another man’s discourse on some lofty subject to interrupt with a personal request for himself.

“Please. Speak to me in simple terms I can understand, like cat and dog.”

No one ever became angry because of this man of mine, Garza.

I recently sat down and listened to a gentleman answering questions during an interview on the teevee.

I like doing that at times. Let us hear what this guy says, and let us see how well he presents his subject, I say.

The host gets closely observed too. Let us see what sort of questions they might ask, and how thoughtful both will sound to my ear; I had nowhere pressing to be for some time so I turned up the volume.

But this particular subject of theirs quickly began to fly above my meager understanding with the ease of an American bald eagle: electronic gadgetry, and how those things affect our present world and the future.

And yet I listened and watched as the man held a tiny, mysterious object up, and then told of its capabilities.

I like hearing about the future. Who would not? I also like gadgets. Most men I know do. The thing that struck me as too complicated to comprehend, as I sat and tried to pay attention, was the single word, electronics.

I am woefully ignorant. Electricity is a beast who knows that I am not its pal. Hand me an extension cord, one which might have been stored up in an attic for several years, and it will right away shock me, and I will soon regret knowing you forever.

I am not an imbecile, however. I can and often do plug electric things correctly into proper holes, and then go on to use the clever inventions without serious incident. You could dare say that I am a wary person when it concerns electricity, and you would be telling an enormous truth. I would like that to be said about me, in fact.

But I, as does most of the human race, dislike appearing to be stupid. And I, in particular, hate admitting that I do not keep up with our changing technology.

So there I sat, torn. Do I want to hear about these marvelous gadgets and how they could affect our present world as well as our future? Or do I want to risk more confusion?

I kept right on listening to the interrogation and watching for new developments.

Then my older son left his private den and walked through the main room, heading straight for our kitchen. From his vacated quarters I could hear zapping sounds of ray guns as the younger brother took over the helm of an abandoned electronic gadget. Blips and blings came through my walls -- shots fired at unseen aliens. I could then hear each digitalized cry of pain as one would scream and melt, followed by a gurgling, cheerful noise of scores being racked up. Muffled explosions dotted the ghoulish landscape of this mental image.

I noticed when the older one passed by my seat that a long, thin wire dangled loosely from one of his ears. I had to yell loud enough to wake a neighbor.

“Hey! What exactly is an iPod?”

He stopped there and tried his best to tell me what I needed to know, and in a selfless manner, I noticed. But in the earliest part of his erudite speech, he referred to an MP3 player. I had to stop and hold up my hand like Garza, and so ended anymore intelligent acts on my part.

No, I had to cut to the chase instead, so I asked, what exactly was an MP3 player?

Ten minutes later, the pair of us were ready to single-handedly take on North Korea in hand-to-hand combat, and then march to whip France. He stormed off to plug into another life-assisting device at a different section of our cave while I invaded the kitchen and groused inside the fridge. Neither of us felt any camaraderie or satisfaction.

Then an amazing thing took place. He came back after awhile with facts that even a dad could grasp: a lone quotation taken from Wikipedia.

Well finally, I thought, here comes my cat and dog. I took a deep breath, sat back and smiled while the resourceful son began to quote the entry.

“MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a popular digital audio encoding and compression format designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent audio, yet still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio to most listeners.”

The old hand shot up again. Brows on two fronts dropped right away. Tempers rose and flared like rockets after lift-offs, and then exploded in mid-air.

POW! BLOP! ZING!

But before the occupied area could become a smoldering ruin, both forces withdrew and ran for cover.

This is a nice cave with many rooms, I later mumbled to no one.

Garza always showed the nicest teeth whenever he smiled, but unfortunately he had no brilliant teenagers to bare them at.

2 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

I have a son who is one of them web developer chappies. Over time I have learned that this has nothing to do with spiders - apparently the web referred to is also a net. And can even be a highway at times. It seems my son develops this strangely metamorphosing thing (which I figure must be quite a feat seeing as it changes all the time) and yet is none the worse for it.

But the really clever thing is that, whenever assaulted by some request for obscure things like code or protocols, I simply yell for number one son and he does it for me. :D

11:18 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

See, that is so tactful. Man, that is something I need to look into.

In the meantime, I need a cat to kick.

2:44 PM  

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