Is nothing sacred?
I love my computer, and to be perfectly honest, a decade ago when I got the first one, it was for my child, for the betterment of her education. Of course we learned together...for me the technical aspects and she the fun stuff.
Over time we both learned to blend the two so that it could be all it could be, the ultimate partner, teacher and toy.
We were firstly awe-struck by 'cut and paste'. No more retyping papers, no more nubbed fingers from pounding away on the Royal, no more bottles of white out, no more wadding of papers in disgust after finding an unfixable error.
We played Solitaire as if obsessed, yet my fingers often craved the feel of the cards, the resounding slap as I lay Jack on Queen and uncovered that elusive two of spades.
The games were amusing, even those played through DOS on that old 286. The jerky figures, the mouths making the identical up and down motion as words bled across the screen, the garbled noise, the crashing of the system, it was all part of the fun.
Multimedia opened up a whole new world as everything came to life with a blaze of color, movement, sound, and bigger crashes. Someone invented a Solitaire game that allowed you to cheat, to play black on black if need be. We raced cars, but it really wasn't the same as that old Atari with the steering wheel. No computer game can rival the original Pacman as you whipped that joy-stick about in your quest to eat the dots and dodge the bad guys.
Ah but you 'Doomed'and you 'Mysted' and you 'Tomb Raided', and your eyes grew weary and your butt grew large. But it was a computer, you weren't parked in front of the television. It was as if it was somehow more educational to vegetate there in front of a monitor as opposed to a picture tube.
E-mail chased the written letter to the 'remember whens'...no more flowered stationery, scented letters, thoughtful choosing of just the right stamp to affix. We were mollified by the notion that this meant more time to write more things to more people. I don't know about you, but I'm always behind on my e-mail! (Right Carol???)
Oh, lest we forget sweet mystery of the internet love...giggling huddled away as you exchange sweet emoticons of love halfway across the continent or world. Far far easier than meeting someone in a bar, and you don't have to shave your legs.
As if all that isn't enough, you can now watch TV on your computer or compute on your TV. You can play your Stardust CD on the computer while the stereo stores dust. Your computer can wake you up, tell you when to go to bed, turn on your coffeepot...progress...harmless not in excess.
BUT, I put my foot down. We've gone too far this time. There is out there a programmer who needs to be tarred and feathered. Did I mention shot? Did I mention deported?
I speak so harshly this day of the person who invented the computer Legos.
Legos are little plastic blocks with connecting nubs and indentations. You use nimble and not so nimble fingers to creatively construct whatever your heart desires. Legos do not belong on a computer screen. It's tantamount to sacrilege. Someone who has never drawn a stick figure can use a computer program and paint the Mona Lisa. A half blind monkey can take a mouse and play with computer legos.
You are supposed to get down on the floor on your hands and knees and screw your face up in thoughtful agony, bite your lip and decide which pieces will make your lego creation stand on its own merit as a creation worthy of a place in the lego hall of fame. You should collect and add to and build up your collection. You're supposed to make and take apart and remake and challenge yourself to build bigger and better...It's a rite of passage, a part of childhood, my God will Lincoln Logs be next??? Do we not feel guilt for the lego makers who will be laid off from work? Do we not feel badly that we're creating an economic rift in the world of plastic?
Sure, forget hopscotch, and simon says, and marbles. Tag and hide and go seek were long ago replaced by Nintendo. We can forget we've created a juvenile race of couch potatoes, we can chalk it all up to 'learning'.
And sure, lazy parents don't have to pick up the computer legos off the kitchen floor, but will they be the same parents who wonder why their little Tommy is tubby? And there are those who will argue that it's the 'programming' part that will 'TEACH' the rugrats.
Baloney! Anything can teach programming!
Legos are not just building blocks, they are an institution.
And that's exactly where the inventor belongs!