Set Your Phasers on Stun

Today is my mother’s birthday.  But wait, this is a sci-fi themed blog, you say.  Well, in honour of my mother’s birthday, I thought I’d outline a few inventions that are sci-fi to her.

Cell Phones: A few years ago, my mother insisted I buy her a cell phone.  I did, and told her to read the manual and I’d answer any questions.  At the time, I was working 50 hrs/week and at university 30 hrs/wk.  Teaching her where to find the ON button wasn’t happening.  Six months later, I caught her selling it in the *unopened* package at a garage sale for $10 (I originally paid $200).  To my knowledge, she’s never touched another one.

Computers: My mother has NEVER used one.  I develop web content for a living and my husband is in web analytics.  My mother has no clue what our jobs entail.  Seriously.  Try explaining what a website is to someone who doesn’t even know what a mouse is.  It’s like trying to explain the appeal of reality television to aliens.  And she’s never expressed any desire to learn.

Email:  See computers, above.

Now, my mother and my father-in-law are about the same age.  My FIL has two computers, a cell phone, he emails, he texts, he’s used web cams and he orders stuff online.  He researches travel on the web and wants his hotels to have internet access when he does travel.

My mother doesn’t know what the internet is.  Not really.  She watches CSI, so one might expect she knows something about what the internet can do, in broad terms, but I’m betting it’s akin to watching Star Trek, back in the day.  Does it seem magical and fantastical to her, like the transporter and holodecks did (and still do, if I’m truthful).  Whereas, I’m borderline addicted to my smartphone and require easy access to my email.

It’s a huge, bizarre gap that I can’t even say is generational.  It’s just hard to believe we’re such different people, and I’m stunned when I even think about going without my internet access.  Nevertheless, Happy Birthday Mom, you Luddite, you.

KC Burn



  1. When I worked at an assisted living facility, there was a man there close to 100 who used his computer daily for all sorts of things, including emailing his children, grandchildren and great-grand children 🙂 He was light years ahead of me in his knowledge (not that I was that savvy). So no, it’s not generational. And maybe your mom is enjoying the “magic” of it all without the burden of dealing with technology that is a huge pain in the bum when it doesn’t work 🙂

    Happy birthday to her!

    1. Oh, that’s so cool! I love that there ate people out there who don’t let anything get in their way.

  2. Your mom sounds like my dad! When his cell phone rings, he picks up the TV remote, holds it to his ear and says, “Hello? Hello?”

    1. Haha! I’ve done that before, completely by accident. The only reason that I can’t see my mom doing the same thing is that I think she loves the tv remote more than she loves me 🙂

  3. I think I’m more like your mom. I have to do all the computer stuff so I’ve forced myself to learn it. My husband recently forced a cell phone on me and I nearly crashed the car when the damn thing started vibrating in my pocket. In my defense I have to say that the last twenty years have been exhausting. Has a generation ever had to learn to operate so much new stuff? I still haven’t learned to record something on a videotape and I’m glad that I didn’t bother ‘cos now it’s getting obsolete.

    Happy birthday to the Luddite!

    1. This is true – the last 20 years have been exhausting, from a technology standpoint. There are lots of times when I find it intimidating, but fascinating, too. Seriously, they just need everything to be thought controlled, and it will be easier on everyone!

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