All by myself, I can navigate using a paper map; write and read cursive fluently; do long division and figure out a tip without a calculator; find answers and information minus the help of Google, and express my opinions and emotions in more than 280 characters — and not a single emoji. And that, as they say, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Given such august achievements, I think it’s unnecessarily unfair and unkind for younger people, like our kids, for instance, to constantly and superciliously invoke my perceived age-related inadequacies whenever I struggle with certain tech devices and concepts.

They forget I can name our first five presidents — in order; tell you why the years 1215, 1492 and 1929 are important; explain the origin of tons of catchphrases, and remember the words to iconic jingles, pop music, and classic rock songs regularly being rediscovered and appropriated by people who never experienced an existence without the internet and social media.

Even though it’s not consistently at the tip of my tongue, I continue to store a lot of stuff in my brain, and I’ve been working at filling it since long before older key technologies were eclipsed by computers with Windows, iPhones that run your life, and flash drives that hold more information than the Encyclopedia Britannica were no more than concepts.* So why should I get knocked for needing help to download apps on my secondhand smartphone, figuring out what happened to a Facebook post that seems to have vanished and understanding that I may have inadvertently insulted someone by punctuating the last sentence of a text?

I don’t Snapchat, tweet or use Instagram, but I’d like to see someone born in the last 30 years dial a rotary phone fast enough to win an on-air radio contest, locate a library book using the Dewey Decimal System or fact-find via microfiche. These are things I know, skills I possess, even if they’re not of much use anymore.

Ultimately and inevitably, many of our accomplishments will become as irrelevant to our kids and their kids as the proper management of a coal furnace, how to crank a wall-mounted telephone and the necessity of good backyard outhouse etiquette became to the majority of us boomers. Yet such things were common knowledge to the rapidly vanishing Greatest Generation who birthed and raised us.

Each generation tends to pity the preceding one for its ignorance and closed-mindedness, and generally sticks around long enough to be completely baffled by what comes next. We’re forever forgetting that this whole human history thing is a compilation of what’s been, what is, and what will one day be. It’s too easy to overlook the reality that it was those unimaginably old geezers from another time who created the world we happen to inhabit right now. It all comes down to each of us knowing what we know, when we need to know it.

So, I’ll make a deal with anyone born after, say, 1985. If they’re more patient with me, I’ll overlook their smugness; and I’ll be more patient with them if they admit I know a few things too.


*Just for the record, the inventors of those tech wonders were all born four years before I was. So booyah to all you post-boomers.

Woodsboro resident Susan Writer can be reached at, and see what else she has to say at her’s Ask Someone Else’s Mom column.

(11) comments


Susan, nothing you said is wrong. I don't understand the trolling. As a boss told me years ago, "nobody can take experience away from you." One of those sayings that comes to mind is "as I got older, my father got smarter." How true. There are many things where I thought I knew it all when I was younger. For example, I did not understand infirmities of older people. As I got older, I realize that everything my elders said was true. They exactly knew what they were talking about. Unlike the disrespectful statement that young people flippantly say "Ok, boomer," it is reflective of their bad breeding. Our generation would not have even thought such a backtalk, let alone said anything like that. My younger family members and I look back at the talents of some of our deceased family and marvel at what they could do with so little materially. My paternal grandmother was an expert seamstress who had a dress she made me to give me each Sunday when my parents and I were there for Sunday dinner. She had the skills to upholster furniture and make pinch-pleated drapes. Hang in there, Susan, and be proud of what you have learned through the years. And, I wish for you that you will (or already do) know younger people who give you respect. Those who listen learn a tremendous amount that serves them well as the years go by and they experience their own issues.


Sue, I am a Boomer, and my son regularly mocks me about my lack of technical skills. I was trying to be funny. [cool]


Okay, three. :)


Thanks Sues, Sorry if my postings are sometimes a bit tone deaf.


No problems! I didn't catch the post before it was removed. Besides, I have no problem being a Boomer! - S. Writer.


Aw, they deleted my OK Boomer post.


A good skillset and I also have my skills, which very few have these days. Reminds me of what Robert Heinlein wrote: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”


We can all pitch manure. Not sure about the others things.


Not important to match skills, but anyone with several items has shown a skill at learning and that is what counts.


All great acompolishmnts Sue. It's just the world has moved on and you haven't.


She apparently has difficulty with formatting, too.

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