Thursday, October 18, 2007

Watching Football

The Boy and I are watching the end of the Rutgers game - well, I'm watching the game, and he's sleeping on my lap & arm. (Lemme tell you... he gets ticked off if I type too much,because every time I reach for a "T" with my left hand - I'm a traditionally trained touch typist - my forearm flexes and moves his head.) He & I have watched more than a few sporting events together in his short life - Yankees playoff games, Giants football, Rutgers & Michigan football.

I'm a "Generation X" kid - right at the start of Gen X, but I'm still a Gen X'er. We got our first computer in our house when I was five years old - an Atari 800, which was the best computer in the neighborhood. 48K memory (that's about 1/20 of a megabyte of memory), 4-track sound, 8 colors... truly a wonder of machinery. It had a cassette tape drive - which took, roughly, 20 minutes to load or to save a 20K program. It ran basic or machine (hexadecimal) language.

I point this out not to show that I'm old. I point it out to show exactly how much my world - in urban New Jersey - has changed from when I was a child. Our house is wired for complete wireless internet access - The Boy will never know what it's like not to have instant access to the information, games, activities, conversation (and unfortunately porn) contained on the internet. He will likely have a cel phone from the moment he's responsible enough not to lose it; it would be shocking if he used a wired telephone, save for the one in my bedroom.

He'll know his grandmother in Pittsburgh as well as his grandfather in Jersey through webcams; he'll likely know his cousins in California as well as his cousins in Jersey for the same reason. He'll grow up with Hi-Def television, and he'll never know what it's like to watch a tiny, low-res screen with an antenna reception. (Move it to the left... more... more... NO WAIT! Go back! There it is. Now, stand there for an hour so we can see the show.)

He probably won't spend much time at all in an arcade, because the PS3 in our living room plays better games for cheaper (long-term, anyway; I must have pumped more than $50 into most of the games that I got obsessed with). He'll be able to play any video game with his friends, anywhere they are, at any time, over the internet.

Will e-books be a cheap and easy alternative in the future? There's a chance that his library of reading will be on an ipod-like device, with books that he wants instantly downloaded. (This is a reality right now, except the readers are around $200 each.) He'll probably have a laptop computer from a fairly young age that has more power than the fastest supercomputer that existed when I was in high school.

It's a different life that he's going to live. Hopefully, he finds the rewards that I have.

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