Admission: Some Boomers are technologically challenged. “Going online,” we leave skid marks across the misinformation superhighway.

Jeff Petersen

Jeff Petersen


It’s no wonder. Traffic signs on our superhighway include “Danger, falling rocker” and “Slow older adults at play.”

With help from grandkids, a few of us manage Facebook and Instagram accounts without crashing the internet. Snapchat and TikTok, however, seem as out of reach to most of us as buying a $200,000 ticket on a billionaire’s spacecraft for a one-hour look at the glowing orb that is earth.

Research shows we are getting hipper. Some 37% of people 70 and better are using social media to stay connected to friends and family. Good for us. These “with it” individuals show pictures of their Spam casserole and Ugly Dog Contest winner as well as argue with strangers over COVID-19 vaccines and “magnetic trackers.”

If you’re like me, it’s fun to see where high school classmates are today. Turns out the guy you attended George McGovern presidential rallies with in the early 1970s is now politically right of Attila the Hun. The cute gal who gave you the cold shoulder is now hot ... for combating climate change — and politically left of Jane Fonda.

And you, the old shot put champion of track and field fame at Elmer Fudd High School, home of the Hunting Wabbits, has difficulty doing arm curls with empty toilet paper rolls.

Despite being leery of getting swept away in a “rat race,” we Boomers don’t give up on technology easily. After all, we are resilient. We’ve drank warm water out of a hose and mastered the Dewey Decimal System. We’ve wrapped foil on our TV rabbit ears and licked postage stamps until, especially in Christmas card season, we are “blue around the gills.”

As the “younger generation” races ahead, we totter to catch up.

We leap off our high horse of “old ways are better” and try to grab technology by the horns, falling face first into the arena, dust piled high with text messages, emails, social media apps and spam.

Overwhelmed, overstimulated, frazzled, we scroll wildly to try to “keep up with the times,” or at least the slower rats.

Our “smart phone” rings seemingly daily with calls from Baltimore, Budapest and Bombay about our car warranty having expired. So we don’t answer phone calls from mysterious numbers — unless we think Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes is on the line.

It’s no relief to set our shaky nerves in the easy chair and watch TV as its constantly “breaking news” — the school shooting in Baltimore, the earthquake in Budapest, the monsoon in Bombay. A landslide in Timbuktu does not mean we are obligated to an attack of high blood pressure. The election of a Virginia governor, debated endlessly on Twitter, does not mean we have to get worked up to the point of a heart attack.

With reflection, taking a pause from the constant drumbeat of “breaking news,” Boomers realize they have some old-time skills to deal with these crazy times.

We can slow down, turn off, say no, make boundaries, play nice, be kind, make peace, make face-to-face human connections, get to know our neighbors, even make change.

We can drive three-on-the-tree (the ultimate car theft deterrent).

We can write in cursive, do math without a calculator, tell time on a clock with hands.

We can also leap out of the rat race ... before the rats claim victory.

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