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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Thursday, March 7, 2013

THE WORLD BEFORE GOOGLE

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS


“I wonder what the world was like before Google.” S says after a lesson on refining searches using the search features on Google.

I am amused.  “I could tell you,” I answer him, “I lived in that world most of my life.”

S stares at me, incredulous. 

I think that he is just trying to fathom how someone as young and hip as I am could possibly know what the world was like before Google.  So I elaborate, “When I was in high school we didn’t even have the internet, much less Google.”

S stares at me, incredulous. 

I am beginning to think his look of disbelief has nothing to do with my youthful appearance.

“So, did you have to, like, write on typewriters?” he asks.

Now it is my turn to stare, incredulous.  “No,” I answer.  In a voice perhaps two octaves higher than usual, I defend myself,  “We had computers; we just didn’t have access to the internet.”

His turn.  “Then what did you use them for?”

My turn.  I was speechless.  It just didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t common knowledge.  I just couldn’t figure out how to explain it.  I just kept thinking, “What did we use them for?” 

9 comments:

  1. Well...I used the typewriter...it was actually quite soothing to hear the keys clicking, and that delightful rolling on of the paper and carbon. Between Google and Siri - their world is so different from ours! I love this line:
    "I am beginning to think his look of disbelief has nothing to do with my youthful appearance."

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  2. We used them to type and type and type - we played Number Munchers and Oregon Trail and Civilization. They took up a ton of room no matter where they were. We had floppy disks and hard disks. Thanks for this trip down memory lane - sent my husband and I back a few years!

    Have a great weekend!

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  3. How quickly life changes! Kids are too funny with the things they say. I suppose they can't imagine what life was like without the world of knowledge available at their finger tips. I like this new world and appreciate the ease as I remember the past. PS - you do have a youthful appearance
    :-)

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  4. In 1995 even computers were not very common in Estonia. We had some lessons in the university but people didn't have them at home. I was finishing university at that time. To complete my final paper, I wrote it by hand, took it to my cousin who worked as a secretary, and she typed it up on a typewriter. Your student probably wouldn't be able to imagine, but my family didn't have a phone at home either. And we still had black and white TV. Then again Estonia had only recently regained it's independence, so it doesn't exactly compare to USA.

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  5. I try to resist the urge of Googling something during dinnertime. I try to hold on to my thought. It's not like I called a friend or fetched an encyclopedia for the answer in the 'old days'.

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  6. I sometimes forget how young my 7th graders are, that they have only been around since the year 2000! They have difficulty conceiving of a world in which computers, cell phones, bank machines . . . didn't exist. Great use of the repeated line - incredulous!

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  7. I didn't even have computers and I refused to take typing because, in all the wiseness of my teenage years, I wasn't going to be a secretary. And i was going to write more, but I think this will make a blog post.

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  8. I am laughing so hard right now! Well, now that I'm getting over the fact that I did indeed use a typewriter...even to do applications and resumes to get my first job...and the next one too...Oh dear.
    You have crafted something so funny--the humor hits just right. The dialog from S along with your dawning realizations...perfect!

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  9. I learned how to type on a type writer. I learned the formatting for business letters, etc on the typewriter. Explaining that we didn't have internet, even in college, is so hard for many to imagine. I can't wait to hear what my 3 year old can't imagine as she gets older. I know we didn't want to live in the world of no electricity or running water. I think the 'no Google' may conjure the same feelings for them.

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