April 22, 2024
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April 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

No We Are Not Nerds—Nerds Are Geniuses

There we were watching a movie on Netflix when we decided to turn it off in order to watch the news. Help! Where’s the screen? Where’s the sound? What button did we push to make this mystery occur? We tried everything and nothing seemed to work. It was too late at night to call our 9- year-old grandson Eyal to ask for his help.

Poor Mordechai has iPhone problems. How does he get from contacts to messages to Google to the plain old phone? Help! It is too embarrassing to ask anyone under the age of 20 as they began doing these maneuvers in their toddler years. Who hasn’t seen a two-year-old running around with his mother or father’s phone in his hand? How many times is it allowed to ask questions before we become too pesty?

What really makes very little sense to us is the phenomenon of texting. Does everyone carry the phone with them every place they go (even in their homes)? Normally when we arrive at our home after an outing, Mordechai for sure leaves his phone in either his pocket or generally in the car by mistake. Nina takes her phone into the house and generally leaves it in her purse. Shortly thereafter the unthinkable occurs. Our home telephone rings with a number that does not announce itself as “Unavailable.” Generally it is one of our daughters asking why we did not respond to the text message they had sent to us 20 minutes prior to our arrival at home. For one thing, while driving we don’t read our texts, and for another thing, texting is not the first thing on our minds. In the time that it takes to write that text can one not make a phone call as well? We begin to wonder if texting is a way to actually avoid speaking to someone. We are guilty as well, offering Shabbat invitations by text, arranging coffee dates by text and sharing such sorrow as the loss of the Montreal Canadiens by text!

We assume that it would be pleasant to download music to our phone (why is that pleasant?). Is there something wrong with listening to the radio? Certainly there are so many choices between classical, country, rock, show tunes and everything else. Even Nachum Segal has made it easier for us to listen to our phones if we so choose. We are not sure when everyone is listening to this music that has gone from their iPod or is it iPad to their phone? What happened to walking on a beautiful day and noticing the beautiful natural wonders that surround us without listening to music? Is it constantly necessary?

Let’s not even think about our desktop and our laptop. One touch of a key and everything disappears to lala land. “Yes we did save it,” we say to our children. It has to be there! “Where could it be?” we ask. Sometimes it almost seems like a conspiracy. Three-quarters of an article is written and suddenly the screen goes blank. No Hashem please don’t let this happen again. We look so dumb when we need to turn to the nerds for their help.

Did you know that the word nerd used to be considered derogatory? Not anymore! Today a nerd is a computer genius! Go into any Apple store and they will immediately make an appointment for you to meet with a “Genius”! We thought that term only applied to what Jewish people called their grandchildren. Not anymore! In Canada they call them geeks, which is another lovely word that we would be petrified to use to address a person. We now have nerds, geniuses and geeks who are running our world. In Verizon they might ask us when we last downloaded the xxxxx app? “Which one is that?” we ask. Oh you haven’t brought your phone up to date in the past two months. You need to update your system. We ask what was wrong with the system prior to the new one, which we still have not learned how to use and we receive looks from the geniuses as if to say you are total dopes.

We are trying to catch up. Two weeks ago there was an article in the NY Times that said that soon cars will be able to recognize their owners’ faces. Really we don’t care if our car never knows who we are as long as we recognize it. That is the reason that we have a NOAM sticker and a HASC sticker on its rear left fender. We will always know it’s ours and don’t want to have to go to a nerd to explain to us how to scan our faces so that the car will beep when we get inside. That recognition we can skip. We know that the world is advancing amazingly each day, but for some of us there was really nothing so wrong with the way things used to be. We just do not understand the need for such a rush!

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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