Zeroes and Ones

By Laura Carlo

Jan. 11

I was looking at today’s date on a digital calendar, 01-11-11, and thought about how everything in our lives seems to have become digitized, zeroes and ones.  Surrounded by high tech broadcast equipment here at work, and even at home (hubs works for an engineering-heavy consumer products company specializing in high-tech audio equipment so guess what my house looks like?), I admit I feel overwhelmed, sometimes, by the pace of inventions and information coming at me.  As I watch my 9-year old son type his homework into a computer (yes, he already has been taught touch-typing—something I had to elect to learn as a junior in high school ... on a manual typewriter ... I think that alone explains things), I am pleased that he says he never feels overwhelmed.  It’s just a part of his life and he takes it all in stride.  Hand-held computerized thingies are also dubbed “cool” and “awesome” and “fun” and “so easy to figure out, Mom.”  Umm..sure.

Let’s face it - you need a computer degree to just get through the day now.  You don’t just have a cell phone anymore (to me, a marvel unto itself) - they’ve become your personal life and business organizer.  We don’t need toll booth collectors, bank tellers, grocery store clerks.  We can do everything all by ourselves ... with the help of zeroes and ones.  Every bill I have to pay (OK, yes, I still write out checks and mail them) comes with a monthly reminder that it’s easy to set up an on-line bill pay.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’m not saying that any of this is bad.  It just seems that even if we want to happy about all of this, we don’t even have the time to sit still and marvel a few minutes, because - duck! - something else is coming at you.

I have an old book (you remember old books ... paper, binding, musty smells?) of “This Date in History”-type facts and I checked out January 11th events.  I found that on this date in 1813 the first pineapples were planted in Hawaii; that in 1913 the first sedan-type car (Hudson) went on display at the 13th Auto Show in New York City, and that back in 1787, Titania and Oberon, moons of Uranus, were discovered by William Herschel, who used a telescope of his own design.  Herschel is often referred to as the father of modern astronomy, but did you know he also was a composer?  I think I'll play some zeroes and ones of Herschel’s music this morning.  He had the time to be a scientist and a composer and to think about things and to marvel at the times.

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