Tuesday, January 25, 2022




We were at 41,000 feet over the Pacific when I first noticed her. She was gorgeous, and sparkled even in the darkened aircraft cabin. Her spectacular shape was right out of the slick ladies’ magazines, and I don’t mean Playboy. I’m talking class. I was smitten and overwhelmed by one of the worst of the seven Deadly Sins – envy – envy of that smug guy sitting two rows ahead having his way with her. I wanted her regardless of the consequences.

One of the flight attendants (female) paused to chat with Mr. Smug, and I could see and hear them talking about his seat companion. “What’s her name? How long have you been with her? Where did you find something so beautiful?” It went on and on. This was how I got hooked on iPad.

Mr. Smug turned out to be a very decent guy once I turned off the envy button. He showed us how well iPad performed even under the stress of high altitude and six curious onlookers. I decided to get one for my very own even though I was fully aware of the difficulty I have as one of the charter members of the Technically Challenged Society.

After landing, going through the interminable re-entry to the U.S. procedure, and arriving home, I set about researching iPad.  Horror. There are six models, covering various gigabytes, WiFi and other features, resulting in indigestion and loud “Huhs?” Anxiously I turned to my electronic guru who, along with his wonderful wife, nurtured me through many bouts of electronic depression. I reached him somewhere north of here, where they are traveling in their elegant (fully wired) motor home. “No worries,” he explained. “It’s all very intuitive.” Yeah, right. Intuitive maybe for a five year old; but not for a challenged geezer. I pretended to be reassured.

I carried on. The iPad isn’t cheap, even ignoring the models that seemed to be from another planet. I decided to save money as I haven’t done since the latter days of the Great Depression (economic, not electronic). I curtailed lunches out, and put the money aside, while I subsisted on eggbeater omelets. I cut out unnecessary expenses, such as my usual high-priced wardrobe stuff from Beall’s. Once I blackened my sneakers, they were good enough for evening wear. At night I held my baseball cap before my patient and understanding wife, pleading for alms. As always, she indulged me. Pennies turned into dimes and quarters, and quarters into dollars, as days turned into weeks and months.

Somehow I reached my goal, and the day arrived to place an order. From another great friend I learned where I could buy a suitable iPad model without paying tax or shipping . . . and it was legal. I did so with firm voice and command of the language. “Thirty-two  gigs, no WiFi,” I commanded, and the guy at the other end understood my order. Unfortunately, that particular model was flying out the door, so I had to be patient and wait several weeks for UPS.

It happened. It really happened! The UPS box arrived. But, despair set in almost immediately. There were no instructions. Desperately I searched the Internet and found that I could download the iPad manual. It wasn’t easy since it is well over 100 pages long. I called the guru who immediately comforted me, and also advised me to go out and find a five year old to set me up. I couldn’t find one, since they were apparently all occupied curing electronic problems for other old (over 30) people. My loving wife then agreed to accompany me to the Apple store where we found a gracious, knowledgeable salesman who set up my American Beauty (assembled in China of course). He attempted to set up my e-mail. Utter failure, and after an hour he surrendered. At this point I knew that everything would work out so long as I could find the somebody who would cure my assorted problems.

I resolved the e-mail dilemma several days later thanks to great work by the good folks at Marco Cable. I sent my first e-mail to my guru who was then in Montana, visiting the site of another disaster – Custer’s Last Stand. It worked! From somewhere near the Custer site he sent an e-mail confirming my incredible success. Thus I began adding “apps” (electronic-speak for “applications”), and embarked on my first great iPad activities.

Wish me and my iPad lots of luck. In the alternative, find me a five year old.

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