September is usually a milestone month in my family. My twin and I celebrate our birthday as does our younger brother. It was also the month that our parents, who were married for 69 years, were married. But this particular September is causing a bit of reflective time.
First of all it is a milestone birthday for me, 70, and second, I am beginning my 13th year of writing a column that I never wanted to write.
I still remember the conversation that took place in the parking lot of a popular restaurant here in Austin, TX. Bryan Chaffin was trying to talk me into starting a column for Mac users who were older and new to computers. I said “my degrees are in education and management, I don’t know how to write a column and I’m just learning to use a Mac myself.” He said “I will help with the writing stuff, but we need someone who knows what it is like to be where you are.” “ No one is addressing this group and younger people don’t know how.” I said “but.” He said “Just give it a try.” I said “but.”
Bryan can be very persuasive.
My first efforts were pretty lame, at least I thought so. I didn’t even know how to properly write a URL. But I started getting emails from readers so I got a bit more self confident. I made some technical mistakes, but fortunately Bryan caught them before the columns were published.
In the beginning I would get emails from tekkies who criticized how I explained things and the steps I walked people through. They would say, “It’s much easier if you just do such and so.” I would politely reply that my readers could not do “such” because they had not learned to do “so” yet.
Sometimes I got letters that were doozies. Like the man who accused me of trying to destroy the American family as it currently exists because I suggested that Macs could help women get into the market place. And then there was the man who was furious with me because his mother had disregarded his direction that she purchase a PC because she heard me speak somewhere and now I had to tell him what software to buy her because he was much too busy to mess with it.
I often tell people that a Mac can change their lives if they want to explore and learn. It has certainly done that for me.
Through this column I have met some wonderful, fascinating people and learned things from every one of them that I have been able to pass on to others.
Through my Mac I have found the most fascinating software and through that learned to accomplish wonderful things. For someone who remembers when there was no TV, learning to make web pages is delightful.
Because of my Mac I have been able to use my teaching skills to share knowledge with others. Teaching gives me great pleasure and doing so has greatly enhanced my retirement years.
Because of my Mac I found out about, and became a part of, a Mac user group. In my case it is Capital Macintosh Users Group. What a great group of friends I have developed through this environment. There is no way you can measure the value of friendship.
Because of my Mac skills I have been able to give back to my community, working with the school district to help train as needed.
And, also because of my Mac, I have found ways to augment my retirement income.
An so I begin year number 13. I will keep going as long as TMO will have me. I have added product reviews to my work at TMO and most of the time they are really fun to do. I am very proud to tell people that I write a column for TMO. For those of you who are kind enough to keep coming back to Computing With Bifocals, I thank you and always appreciate hearing from you.