When I was growing up, the word ‘smart’ was used frequently. Most often used to define three things. If you were of high intelligence, people said you were smart. (Unfortunately, no one ever accused me of this). If you gave a snakebite (placing both hands on someone’s forearm and twisting hands in different directions), they might say, “holy moly, that smarts!” Or before sarcasm was universally appreciated as a highly desirable personality trait and coveted asset (yeah, I was way ahead of the curve on this one. Huh. Maybe I was smarter than everyone assumed) you were hailed as a ‘smart ass.’ Yes, I excelled in smart-ass-ism. Way before it was cool. Way.
|16 and raring to start driving…|
Though I never gave the word ‘smart’ much thought, it’s been cropping up more and more lately. Everything seems to require the word smart in the title or catch phrase defining the product. Over the years, I’ve owned 3 Cadillacs. A ‘92 De Ville, a ‘95 El Dorado (my favorite car ever, after our 1964 Vette) and a 2001 Seville (which I hated). My dislike of the Seville was because it tried so hard to be smart. You’re just a car-let it be. While I enjoyed the De Ville and El Dorado because they were nice cars (I swear the 2 doors of the El Dorado weighed a ton a piece) the Seville just pissed me off most of the time. It had features which were not only nigh onto impossible to disable, these features made me feel dumb, inadequate and old. So very old. I swear that car was invented for your average 90 year old. I didn’t show much intelligence in this decision because I bought the dumb/smart car. The feature that drove me bonkers were the stupid windshield wipers. When a raindrop fell within a 30 mile radius, my wipers would turn themselves on. I looked like a dork driving down the road. Which was completely dry. The wipers were not doing their job by wiping away the rain so I could see better. Because there was no rain! But the car, trying hard to be smart detected that errant rain drop 30 miles away. It somehow assumed I was not smart enough to turn my wipers on all by myself. Arggggg. Sold that p-o-s after a couple years.
Recently car companies have touted several varieties of the ‘smart car.’ The tiniest one looks efficient, although I would never take it out on the interstate. Too small with no protection. Might be nice to drive around town running errands, but where in the world would I put my $150. worth of groceries? They might fit, but then where would I sit?
Now they have cars that parallel park for you! Where was this neat little feature 50 years ago when this poor 16 year old teen, knees knocking, teeth chattering, nerves on fire had to drive Mom and Dad’s straight stick during the driving part of attaining my driver’s license? With an Iowa State Trooper no less! One requirement was parallel parking, using only my (half) wits. But I digress.
Besides the smart car, you can buy smart TV’s. Ours tries to pick and record programs it decides we might enjoy. Has ‘free will’ totally been eradicated from everything? Please stop assuming you know me smart TV. Just sit there silent and dark and don’t try to get inside my head. You wouldn’t like it there anyway. I don’t even like it there sometimes.
Suddenly it wasn’t enough for every person in the world to carry a cell phone. We all needed smart phones. Mine however exceeds this requirement and has been renamed my Smart-ass phone. You’d think I’d really be happy with so many features, but again, it usually (on purpose, I swear) makes me feel inadequate and unworthy. Isn’t this the age of freak out fear, name calling and uncertainty? I need a phone that protects me, boosts my morale, doles out consolation trophies after I finally found the mute button last year. Instead it strongly suggests more and more Apps I need to make my life better, complete and truly meaningful. My iTunes app regularly chooses music it somehow knows I will love. You don’t know the first thing about me iTunes. No, you don’t. Just stop.
|Geez, this is even too busy for me…|
When I glance at Joshua or Shannon’s phone, their home page is entirely filled with their most frequently used apps. I have a couple problems with this. I don’t use many apps, and a busy home page like theirs makes me twitchy. Just too much stuff to look at. My iPad homepage has 12 apps, plus my bottom-top 4 which I actually use. And I only use 8 of the 12 on top. I keep the other 4 just so I look normal and popular. Keeping up appearances. My second page is filled with small squares containing 9 apps, bunched together. Aptly named Rarely Used, Useless apps, Extra Apps, and Never Used, 1, 2, 3 & 4. Which I keep just in case Joshua is helping me with something and for reasons unknown needs one of my 40 brilliant apps that I’m not smart enough to use.
How come we need all this stuff with the word smart in the name? Am I dumber than I was 50 years ago? Well maybe, but still. Do I need to feel enlightened with everything I own? Here’s the icing on the cake. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a pair of socks. (Thanks Josh and Erica). A really neat pair of socks. Black socks with a pattern knit in them. Not just ordinary socks either. Cause they’re smart socks. Are you kidding me? I. Am. Not. I guess the socks are smart because of their fibers. They’re Smartwool socks. The finest wool, sheared from the world’s smartest sheep. All sheep donating fibers are required to have, at minimum, a masters degree. Now even the smart sheep over shadow my inadequacies. How did I miss that big rollout?
|I do love my mini-iPad…|
But guess what? They’re stinking (maybe not the best choice of words) amazing socks. I cut off the tags, tossed all pertinent information away and tugged the socks on a few days ago. My word, my tootsies have never been so toasty during the month of December in my entire life. They’re not itchy, and they don’t slouch. I’ve not got one bad thing to say about my smart socks. Except where have you been my whole life? I want some more. The search is on. If I’m smart enough (maybe they’re rubbing off) I should be able to figure out where to find different colors and patterned Smartwool socks.
|Who doesn’t need smart socks on their tootsies?|
My Mom knit wool socks for me when I was growing up. But they were too thick (these fibers obviously were not from the smartest sheep in the flock) and cut off circulation to my brain when I wore them. I felt kinda bad for Mom because she said they were hard to make. Knitting difficult heels for this ungrateful heel. Sorry Mom. Nowadays these smart sheep eat a lean diet so their fibers aren’t bulky like their ancestors (who were probably carbo-holics-like me).
I don’t know. The older I get, the faster time goes, the behinder I am. Which, in turn tends to makes me feel old. Conundrum. But I really don’t feel very bad about it. I think I should, but I don’t. I feel like I should keep up with newest apps, smartest products, the latest technology. But all these ‘things’ just seem too much and too fast. I don’t especially want to be that fast anymore. I’m ok with life at a slower pace. I’m not always comfortable when I’m totally out of the loop, but meh, for the most part I’m ok with a slower and semi-smart Neese…