2018-02-09 / Columns


I hope you don’t put a ‘TL;DR’ on this column

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

It’s really an old saying about people, not necessarily dogs, that I’ve never believed.

Anyone can change. Anyone can learn. Even people who are seemingly set in their ways can develop new patterns, new skills and new ways of thinking.

Besides, even if the old saying really was about dogs, many dog owners I know say old dogs are perfectly capable of learning new tricks. So why can’t I?

None of that means, however, that learning new things as you get older is easy, or easier as the case may be despite your many years of wisdom and experience.

I grew up with computers, for instance, learning the DOS operating system and basic computer language at an early age.

While I can’t remember the exact year, I remember marveling at what the 8088 processor in my family’s new Packard-Bell desktop computer could accomplish, or how powerful some of the computer programs were once you got them installed.

Some of those programs filled 20 or more floppy disks that you had to copy and install in the right order.

“Look at this,” I remember thinking upon installing a new word processing program. “This program comes with a built-in spelling checker.” I swear I misspelled words on purpose just to see if the program really worked.

Fast forward to today and the software on your cell phone doesn’t just tell you what words you misspelled in your text, it tells you what to text.

But even though I’ve grown up on computers, I still get stumped from time to time when it comes to questions about technology.

I loathe diagnosing Wi-i problems, for instance. The hardware drives me nuts and I’ve never felt comfortable digging around in the software and security settings in a search for answers.

While I generally understand their purpose, I never use hashtags, likely because I have somehow avoided Social Media platforms such as Twitter and many of my Facebook friends appear to make up hashtags as they go along for no real purposes. (#makinguphashtags)

And while anyone can figure out how to get on Facebook, I’ve since found there’s a whole lot of thought that has to go into setting up a Facebook account for someone or something other than yourself. For instance, I’m a volunteer member of the board of Crime Stoppers of Cherokee County and volunteered to set up a Facebook page for the group. Hopefully you’ll find it and like it because our group of volunteers has a lot of plans this year to increase the visibility of the anonymous tip line. Just keep in mind, unlike me when I was initially setting up the page, that there are Cherokee counties in other states.

Chances are good that some people who began reading this column have decided that it was “TL;DR” which means Too Long; Didn’t Read in Internet slang, and have since quit reading in search of other pursuits, such as whittling.

Come to think of it, this might actually be the first time I have ever written that bit of Internet slang, since I don’t use such slang. I’m fairly quick on the keyboard. I can spell things out without much fuss.

Besides, I was reminded just the other day by my wise editor seeking clarification on one of my stories that I should just “Write what you mean.” It’s sage advice, if not words to live by.

“LOL” I responded, which means “Lots of Love.” Right?

I kid of course. I’m just friendly with my editor.

Besides, I had to Google some Internet slang as part of some recent research and came across an interesting article about Internet slang parents need to know. The article was written in 2014 and I still hadn’t heard of most of them.

Did you know GNOC means “Get naked on camera?”

I sure didn’t. No one has ever texted me that message before.

Consider me wiser for the research effort.

See, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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