For three hours this morning, I waged my own personal holy jihad against our email servers while trying to force through an message with half a dozen small Word documents attached. I tried every trick, tip, and bit of sneakiness I’ve acquired from years of working with less than current technology that we use to do the people’s business, but alas, failed miserably in my efforts to transmit six pages of text to a guy who sits thirty feet away. It seems my efforts were not going unnoticed by my esteemed colleague, who has me in the age department by the better part of three decades. After watching my valiant fight to make the tech work, he smiled sheepishly and said “You know, you could just print it out and give it to me.” I’m pretty sure he was trying not to laugh maniacally when he said it.
I don’t know that I’ve ever been thunderstruck before, but for a few seconds I truly stood slack jawed in the middle of the room. The idea of just printing the documents had legitimately never even occurred to me. I really have no idea when I stopped thinking of printed paper as a legitimate option for the transfer of information from Point A to Point B, but there was its moment of fulfillment; the first real and undeniable sign that I had transitioned completely into the digital age. Left to my own devices, I could have gone on that way for hours before managing to find a way to get the electrons to play nicely together. In this one extraordinarily rare example, I’ll concede that old school won a tactical victory against the forces of new and shiny. I don’t, however, recommend that it get use to such easy wins.