Thank you, David Brooks

Published April 11, 2024

By Lib Campbell

When David Brooks writes, I pay attention. His columns in the New York Times are smart and insightful. He is one of my favorite opinion writers. Of all his posts, his recent article, Why is Technology so Mean to Me, sang a deep unsung “Halleluiah” in me. Someone smart understood my frustration.  
The first computer I had was a clunky Dell. While I did learn to type on it, its function was limited in my using, mostly because of my illiteracy of computers. My telephone technology at that time was a bag mobile phone. I was driving across the state fairly often at this time, so I was thankful to have a way to contact somebody in an emergency – if I was in a good coverage area! And when I wasn’t, tough noogies. 
When the Apple Revolution happened, I learned what incompatibility was all about. No machine talked to the other, unless they were the same brand and the same operating system. The technology wars had begun. It quickly became go Apple or go home. 
I loved the programs of my Dell computer. Publisher and Word and Excel. Publisher has not found an equal in the Apple world, in my humble opinion. But programs are one thing; operation is quite another. 
My Apple Pro laptop is quirky. I will type, when suddenly a word jumps to another line. Operator error, surely. But still frustrating. Text boxes will insert themselves out of nowhere. Sentences will totally disappear. I have learned to save every few lines. Recovery efforts are like deep sea fishing – only for the brave. 
I am learning patience in downloading and re-booting processes. Little wheels spin and spin. I file my nails. The screen will go dark, until a big white Apple appears. Notices for updating popup even when I have just updated. Befuddlement is unbecoming.
David Brooks goes into his troubles with his phone and his printer. Here, Here. My phone is so old it won’t upload the newest CNN app. I keep it because it has the “button,” which the newer phones don’t. Truth be told, I still miss my Blackberry. I could text on that phone like nobody’s business.
The wireless printer we have is temperamental. Printing is not just pressing a button. Choices -B/W or color, letter size or legal, double sided or single. The cartridges cost a fortune and last just a little while. The wireless part of the printer is sketchy. Sometimes wires are better.

I am not good with passwords. I have many, some variations on a theme. I am like Charles Barkley in the March Madness commercial. Jim Nance comments mockingly on his consecutive numbers log in. I feel your pain, Chuck.
You say, any thirteen-year-old on the block could make everything work perfectly. And you are right. But I will cut myself some slack in saying there are things I can do that some 13-year-olds cannot. Let me think of what they might be…
Technology evolves more quickly than I can adapt. I love my computer and iPad. I like my phone. But I think the television and all this technology should work when you turn it on. Like a radio with an on/off switch, volume, frequency. 
I plan to keep plugging away at this tech stuff. I adamantly tell my children not to get me one of those Jitterbug phones with giant buttons that offer options for calling them or 911. I am not there… yet. 
David Brooks is self-effacing in saying his problem might be him. He is open, he says, to acknowledging that he is a “technology idiot.” I don’t think he is an idiot. Don’t think I am one either. I can change the clock in my car. That’s proof enough. 
It’s just hard to think of the things that might be passing me by, tech included. But as long as parts and updates are available, and the Apple Store is half a mile away, I can stay in business. Thank you, computer, for letting me finish this piece without complaint. And thank you, David Brooks, for letting me know that I am not alone. 
Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader, columnist and host of the blogsite She can be contacted at