...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon

This column was originally published in the Chicago Journal’s News Star Newspaper

US AND THE INTERNET

Contrary to some people’s opinion, we (Carol and I) did not grow up in a one room cabin, or attend a one room schoolhouse communicating with Indian smoke signals. We (Carol and I) do, however remember the telephone party line whereby one could listen to the conversations and know the secrets of all those who were party to the party line—sometimes shared by three or four or more families. This was an arrangement somewhat difficult for teenagers and fraught with danger for adults..

Of course I remember, as I think few do, the nickel pay phones in every household.  They could be operated with nickels or slugs. The slugs were provided by the telephone company and once a month the telephone man would come to the house and remove the coin box. He would collect all the nickels and exchange slugs for money which housewives paid and then leave more slugs.

We (Carol and I) remember the street corner pay phones—essential for salesmen and teenagers needing privacy I have particularly fond memories of the many restaurants in Chicago who had vast telephone areas for salesmen, thus a place to do business and also eat lunch.

But all of this telecommunication experience came to a halt not only with the cell phone but more so with the internet. Unlike Carol, I was not a quick adherent of the internet or of e-mail; perhaps a “buggy whip” mentality. Soon, however, I joined into the “new system”.  I quickly became dependant/addicted. Thus grew my website of columns “And That’s My Opinion”. We jumped head first into the pool and for sometime we were swimming quite comfortably.

Then IT happened – either we or ATT suddenly hit bottom and drowned. The computer’s internet connection crashed; reasons unknown. Thus began seven days of horror.  We were totally unconnected. Could we pick up the telephone? Of course we could but that would be “buggy whip”.

So we contacted ATT internet services.  Their first suggestion was a new modem which we bought and installed. But that did not correct anything. So back to ATT internet services. They (several men and women in India and finally one woman in Buenos Aries,) performed a battery of tests and instructed us to pull this plug and plug that plug and remove the green wire and attach the yellow wire. We drifted in and out of performance on a daily basis. It was this and it was that; it was that and it was this.  Essentially whatever IT was they were right because eventually all was corrected and everything was OK in Internet land.

I could not help but wonder if maybe smoke signals were not such a bad idea. At least the Indians had no failures …… unless it rained. But if we tried to use smoke signals now, I’m sure some Chicago politician  would try  to introduce legislation prohibiting rain!

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

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