If My Mother Knew Any Technology…

I am thankful that my mother is essentially unaware of anything momentous that has happened in the world after, say, 1975, pretty much the year after I was born. She gave birth to me and retreated thereupon into this domestic world, and I don’t think she even has read any recipes written after 1980, leave alone anything about new technologies invented since then. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and my mother has some vague notion of it as a historical event, but she couldn’t have cared less if they had let it stand. If pressed, she’d probably wonder if they had thought of putting some more doors in it.

But I count my blessings here, because if she had known how much the human race had achieved in the last three decades, especially in the field of computing technology, she’d be berating me for not having invented more of it.

“Transistor? You ever heard of transistor? Extremely simple device, you use your basic semi-conducting material to be able to hold charge for a limited period of time, and from that to representing first order logic through the absence or presence of electrical current is such a simple step. You know why you didn’t think of it? Because you are dating white woman. And are not married yet.”

For my mother, marriage is a panacea, because it supposedly puts your mind in this magic state of bliss and fortitude combined so that you can take on any challenge the world has to offer. Ford every mountain, cross every stream, that sort of thing. Once you have figured out how to be married, or I suspect, merely how to get married, there’s something about how your neurons will arrange themselves that you can then achieve anything else you might set your mind to. For my mother, if you are the kind of guy who has taken on the regular responsibilities of putting out the garbage and planning trips to India with a baby and a pregnant wife in tow, why, at this point you could write a letter to the President telling him you know how to bring about peace in the Middle East, and he will believe you! “He’s managed to find the cheapest fare to India three summers in a row; he could fix Social Security on his next layover in Singapore, I know it!”

If my mother knew about Star Trek, she would be blaming humanity’s failure to create real teleportation technology on me.


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