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  • Writer's pictureRichard A. Jones

Thinking of Simpler Times

“Thinking of Simpler Times”


Since I believe that faith and life are inseparable, Some of what I say on this blog in “Reflexions of Faith” will inevitably fine its way into “Walking The Same Ground” and “As I See It.”(or as Barb calls it, “My Rants and Raves”) And vice versa. Be aware that this means there will be some overlap and repetition. However, faith that has no connection with daily life, isn’t worth much. So, I’m not apologizing for this, I’m just stating it.

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Have you noticed how technology has rearranged our vocabulary? Not only have dozens of new words been invented, but remember when a mouse was a small rodent, a cookie was something to eat, and software might be a favorite pair of socks.


50 years ago, if you talked about a hard drive someone might have thought you meant a long rough road. Bandwidth could have been used in talking about how much room the high school marching band would need for the parade. And whoever would have thought that if someone asked us the time, we would look at a phone.

I use some modern technology, and I have even come to mildly appreciate it. After all, it is the medium that makes possible what I am doing right now. If I had to use an old type writer with white out (remember?), I would either have to own stock in a white out company or else quit writing all together. I also don’t want to go back to writing sermons with a pencil and a very large eraser.

Although I do a lot of erasing, I take comfort in the words of Meister Eckhart, 13th century philosopher, who said, “Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” I am thankful that my computer comes with such “erasing” operations as delete, cut, paste, and select all.

Most modern technology makes claims of faster, easier, more convenient, and more efficient. Personally however, I have not found this to always be the case. I think that at least a few of you who are in the vicinity of my age, may sympathize with me.

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To lose something, used to mean that I had simply misplaced it or unknowingly dropped it. There was always the hope that I could find it again. However, a while back, my computer crashed—need I say more? Things were lost, and there is no hope they will ever be found.

A computer pop-up-window is constantly reminding me of available “upgrades.” Let me offer my five-part definition of an “upgrade:”

  1. Something I did not ask for, that someone else decided I needed, and that will not leave me alone until I accept it.

  2. Things I thought I had, I now cannot find.

  3. Procedures that used to take me two steps, will now take me four.

  4. Whatever I want to do will now take longer, cost more, and leave me more irritated.

  5. And just when I think I knew how to do something, I don’t.....And this is an upgrade?

Of course, much of my irritation stems from my own stubbornness and unwillingness to change. So be it.

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Let me offer a few comparisons between doing business many years ago, and doing business in the age of technology. You decide which is more efficient.

When I needed something that Bill Falkenburg didn’t have in stock at his hardware store. I asked him a few questions. He told me how much it would cost and when it would be here. He did not ask for payment or even a deposit. Bill ordered it. I picked it up on the day he told me it would be in. I paid for it, and I took it home.

Today, we have the “convenience” of online shopping. In fact we are coming to the place of online everything. When I order something online, I will have to pay up front, using my debit or credit card, which will now run the risk of being hacked. I might get what I ordered, and I might not. If I do, it may take twice as long as I was told that it would.

If I call about my order, I can spend an hour on the phone listening to an automated voice spouting information that is totally unrelated to my situation.

I will be given eight options of numbers to press, none of which fit my question. if I try to ask my own question, the voice will just keep right on talking or tell me that my question is either not understood, or is invalid.

If I ever do get to talk to a real person, which is not likely, they will probably be in Cairo, Calcutta, or somewhere in Mexico.

But never fear. I will get daily email updates to tell me where my purchase is sitting. I will also be given another phone number which, if I call it, will begin this whole annoying process all over again. Roy Gilmore, a good friend, (my age of course) calls this phone number 1-800-Good Luck.

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When Bud Benson serviced or worked on my truck at his Phillips 66 station it was simple. He did the work, I thanked him, paid him, and drove home. He had done his best, and I knew that he had done his best.

When I had my truck serviced in Pueblo, I had to sign a paper before they could start. When they finished, I was handed three more sheets of paper and I had to sign one of them. I was told that I needed a new battery. I declined and drove my old one another 15,000 miles.

The next day I received a phone call, three emails, a couple of advertisements, and a survey asking me to tell them that they did good. Maybe believing me to be totally incompetent, the dealership called me twice and sent me another two emails to remind me of my next appointment.

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Years ago, when I went to Jennings’s Market to cash a check (personal, two party, payroll, tax refund,—it didn’t matter). I signed it, handed it to Harold, and walked out with the cash.

The Westcliffe grocery store is now owned by a Texas chain with about 150 other stores. The local store employees are great, but policy comes from Texas. There is a sign in the store with a twelve point list of protocols for check cashing: I must have identification. The amount can only be for twenty five dollars over my purchase. If it is a personal check for cash only, it must have manager approval and must also be run through a security check system (probably in another country) which will match it with fingerprints.


Of course, this doesn’t really matter much, because who writes checks anymore? Some businesses won’t even accept cash.

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Those of us who knew Westcliffe, Colorado before computers, emails, security checks, chain stores, and out of state policies, remember a simpler way—It was called TRUST.

Now, a machine asks a human to prove they are not a robot. Someone has rightly said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”







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