No doctor or special test is needed to check older people for signs of senility.
I’ve watched it with my father. To almost all appearances, he seems to match our genetic heritage:
Still looking and feeling great in his 80s (we live healthily into our late 90s), still intelligent and witty, still able to solve any three-dimensional spatial relationship challenge you set for him.
Born a geek, he can still speak the speak. And yet…
Sit him in front of a PC, and you will instantly see why no doctor is needed:
The PC draws each fail seed from the inner recesses of his brain and spills them into full flower from his mouth and fingertips. It’s a truly ugly sight. You don’t want to be there.
You need to run. Run away! Very fast!
No, I am not kidding.
If you love your parents, tattoo the number for their local Geek Squad directly onto every one of their keyboard fingers so that whoever is saddled with their computing support woes will at least be paid for the pain.
Otherwise, you, too, will be awakened at 1:00 a.m. by a call two time zones away:
“How do I get the email to talk to the Facebook again?”
The man was a technical engineer who designed some of the fastest assembly lines ever put on this planet; lines where millions of parts moved a hairsbreadth distance apart at lightening speed with nary a clogged cog in his almost-fifty-year career.
And yet he can’t figure out how to plug in a mouse cable when he pulls it loose.
Sadly also, here is me, currently headed toward my own age of crone-hood, already seeing the signs of—NOOOOOOOooooo!!!!!
Could it be???!!!!? I, who once ran circles around others as a programmer, and then a systems analyst, and picked up new technotools with ease…
I, a once-data processing dinosaur who took joy in tweaking machine code, yet who moved smoothly into designing web pages and flows years later when these came along…
I is now gettin’ tek-dum like my dad. Flowers for Outlier.
Getting dumber isn’t a new experience for me, thanks to the brain-deadening effects of my diseases (systemic lupus and Behcet’s), but the tech-related dumbosity of aging is.
– I have trouble learning simple html instructions.
– I go to post my first-ever comment on imgur, and panic when my first attempts are hugely dork-worthy and I can’t manage to delete them (my stupidity is permanently online for anyone to google).
– When Chrome first came around, I hated it because it had…because it was…new and unfamiliar.
Oh, crap. That is a really bad sign.
What a noob. And now, thanks to old age, a noob forever.
Aw, hell. Might as well embrace senility. It’s as if I’m reborn each day, right? Maybe I’ll start a new online identity daily and cruise the web free of all prior days’ blush burdens. No one will know it’s that senile ole’ Outlier.
Now: If someone can remind me what “cruise the web” means?