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Kent Bernhardt: Out of step

Kent Bernhardt

“Do you ever feel like the world is a tuxedo, and you are a pair of brown shoes?”— Comedian George Gobel, 1970

Yes, George. I feel like that often. I especially felt like that not long ago when I decided I’d kill a half hour watching some of The Grammys.

The crowd cheered artist by artist, I was suddenly aware I didn’t know any of them. Nor had I heard any of their music.

As a former deejay playing those “totally terrific top ten tunes in my stacks of wax,” I used to be somewhat immersed in the music world. Those days are gone, though my love of good music lives on.

Good music. The kind that’s harder to find these days.

I feel a little left behind by my television too. My friends, a lot of them my age, carry on with great enthusiasm about the latest developments in “Game of Thrones.” Never seen it.

In fact, the whole world seems to be caught up in the latest plot twists in a whole host of streaming series. With wild enthusiasm, they speculate about the fate of characters I’ve never heard of, starring in shows that never quite made the cut in my world of limited TV viewing.

To me, binge watching is defined as “most of one episode.” I’m still trying to catch up on Downton Abbey. Did Bates ever get out of prison?

I write this because I feel I’m beginning to suffer the fate of my parents.

About 20 years ago, I looked over at them and they just seemed a lot older to me. They were out of step with the times – lapped on the great racetrack of life.

Dad at least tried to catch up. Long after his children owned computers, he decided he needed one too. This thing called the worldwide web intrigued him, so he headed over to Circuit City and made the plunge. But dad had always been a gadget guy and a bit of an explorer.

After a few hours of setup, he fastened his seatbelt and went cruising on the internet for the first time. He liked it.

We helped as much as we could, teaching him all about modems, routers, web addresses, and Google searches. Then we took the training wheels off and blasted him into cyberspace – alone.

Dad was fine for a while. Then one day, he decided he wanted to know all about peaches. After a quick Google search, he navigated his way to the first page on “peaches” he found at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, this particular page wasn’t bustling with information on the fruit that grows on a tree and makes a nice cobbler. It was filled with juicy facts about a woman named “Peaches” who doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen at all.

She also didn’t have a lot of money to buy clothing, if you catch my drift. She’s what Andy and Barney would call a “fun girl.”

Dad was immediately caught off guard by his navigational error, and fearful that he might trigger an investigation by the internet police, he did what any self-respecting computer owner would do and simply shut the machine down.

I was just glad he didn’t decide to wash it out with soapy water.

I’m beginning to understand dad’s feeling of disconnection and frustration with the world of today. I’m supposed to like a lot of things I just can’t quite relate to. The parade is passing, and I’m having to trot to keep up.

So, if you look behind you one day and I’m way back in the distance, worry not for me. I’m fine back there.

Hey, maybe I’m back there checking out an interesting web page on peaches.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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