What’s striking is that Nolan, who’s now pushing 17 months, has never seen that kind of telephone – the old handset model most of us grew up with. For him, a phone is a little flat shiny thing that mommy and daddy keep in their pockets – or that grandma can never seem to find in the bottom of her purse.
Yet, Nolan will pick up the handset and babble like he’s really talking on the phone.
He grasped the basic concept. He gets it.
I suspect it would be the same if he ever sees a typewriter. It’s got a keyboard, it’s got those things to push down on ... you must use it to write, right?
Thirty years ago this fall, it was a typewriter I trudged up the steps with at Braly Stadium in Florence, Ala., to cover my first college football game. Here’s some technology, if that’s the right word, which would seem baffling to my grandson. Type a page, then put it in a machine called a telecopier – a prehistoric fax machine.
On the other end, somebody had to take that copy and type it in again. It beat the heck out of dictation over the phone, though.
Now, of course, we’re all lost if we can’t find a wireless signal. Soon enough, the brave among us will get implants and we will be the computers.
Long live the new flesh.
I don’t worry so much about that. Like Sam sang in Casablanca, “the fundamental things apply.” However we deliver the news, it’s the quality that matters.
I’m still amazed that a major college town – Ann Arbor, Mich., with a population of more than 100,000 – finds itself without a daily newspaper as the 2009 football season begins.
Of course, news still gets reported there, much of it at a Web site by people who used to work at the paper. The form changed but the fundamentals still apply.
I think there will always be something called a newspaper – even if, like the telephone since the days when I was a toddler, the shape of the prevailing technology evolves. We’ll have Web sites and blogs and things that haven’t been named or invented yet, but it all boils down to the same thing – delivering reliable information. If we do, we’ll thrive.
For now, is there still a press in the back of the building? Are there rolls of paper and barrels of ink? Good. Hey, Nolan, let’s roll.
John L. Pitts (john.pitts) is the sports editor of the Daily Journal. He still has a typewriter, just in case.