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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

A Sense of Adventure

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
The process of getting older brings with it a number of challenges for all of us. If you are thirty or younger and you think these will not apply to you, think againÖthey will come before you know it. Be prepared.

Now, in my mind you have a choice, you can either groan, moan, complain and be cynical or you can choose to think of each new event with a sense of adventure. Since no one would listen to me if I choose to moan and groan, I will opt for the new sense of adventure. Besides it helps to have something to write about.

When it comes to changes in technology I find it pays to maintain a good sense of humor. The best way to impress your kids and grandkids is to buy the latest stuff and then figure it out before they come to your house. Then you can whip out your iPod or new cell phone camera and kind of insert them into the normal conversation without any fan fare. The kids will be instantly impressed and amazed that first off youíve bought this device and secondly that you actually know how to use it. Do not admit that it took you the better part of a week to learn how to turn it on for the first time. Also be certain you know the basics of these devices before you introduce them into your family circle. For example pointing the camera towards the subject is something you must learn how to do before you attempt to take someoneís picture. Never attempt anything unless you are absolutely certain you can do it properly. If you have a new cell phone, try it out first before making an absolute fool of yourself in front of your kids if you have to admit you donít know how to get a dial tone. This is a big no-no.

Itís ok to try out new things with your spouse. He or she is in the same boat and certainly can understand the need for practice, practice, practice with anything unfamiliar. When GPS devices first came out my wife became concerned when she heard a strange voice over the cell phone while she was talking to one of our sons. He told her there wasnít anyone in the car but him. Only after he changed the voice to a British accent did she believe him. A few weeks ago we were in Seattle trying to get to our hotel in a blinding rainstorm at midnight. Thunder and lighting is crashing all around us and the GPS voice is telling me to Ďturn nowí or Ďget into the left lane, right turn aheadí or some such instructions. My wife is talking to me, Iím yelling at her (my wife) and at the voice in the GPS as if she (the GPS woman) can actually hear me. Yelling at the GPS voice does not do you any good whatsoever. They canít hear you and they donít care. Do not do this in the company of your children or your grandchildren. They will think you have lost it.

I have to get used to having computers talk back to me. We all need to work on this as it is the wave of the future.

We bought a WeiiÖ.I guess thatís how you spell it. Anyway, itís this computer game exercise torture machine. When you first get it cranked up you have to enter all kinds of personal stuff about yourself and then the machine evaluates your body composition and tells you several things. Not things I necessarily want to hear from a machine in my house. It tells you your weight (too much) body mass index (didnít need this figure) and then what you need to do to get down to your proper body size (stop eating for a year) and how to get back in shape (round is a shape).

Now, in all seriousness the thing is a hoot. Itís really a lot of fun and you really forget youíre actually exercising. We havenít been on ours for a couple of weeks due to the dog, but came back on it this weekend. It wants to know where Iíve been. It wants to know if Iíve been snacking. It wants to know if Iíve seen my wife since she hasnít shown up for exercise as well. It groans each time I step on it as if Iím overloading it or something.

Well, we showed it a thing or two. We worked out so hard; I threw my hip out of place. My wife did over five hours on the obstacle course and walking like she is in traction, but we are determined to get beyond the beginner level. Our kids are impressed that we know how to turn the thing on and do anything, so the pain is worth it. We are oldÖhear us roar.


© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
- March 31, 2010 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
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