HORROR MOVIES are all the same. Five teenagers lost on a dark, isolated road. And there’s an escaped convict on the loose! Or a vengeful killer. Or a German scientist who’s all about sewing people together ass-to-mouth. But why is it that the cell phone is never the killer, but always an innocent little digital bystander? Maybe it’s because technology is ultimately a beneficent, helpful force that means us no harm.
Or maybe it’s because nobody wants to give everyone’s favorite homicidal disembodied robot, Siri, any ideas.
STEP 1: “YOU KNOW YOU’RE A 90S KID WHEN…”
Sure, memes like these are roughly as widespread, irritating, and well-written as poison oak. But there’s nothing quite as hypnotically satisfying as clicking through items like ‘“All your folders, pencil boxes, and erasers were Lisa Frank” and “You either liked Posh or Baby Spice best. Ginger and Sporty were just OK, and you barely tolerated Scary” and nodding in mute, absolute agreement. But then your eyes fall on one that gives you pause. “You were totally scared of Y2K.” You realize in rapid succession that: it’s one in the morning, the computer screen you’ve been staring at for hours is emitting a sinister blue glow, and that no one would hear you if you screamed. S**t, it’s been fourteen years and you’re still totally scared of Y2K.
STEP 2: BASK BLISSFULLY IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IGNORANCE
Well, so maybe you’re not as tech savvy as your maniacal Lisa Frank-loving contemporaries. So what? Where is it written (OK, besides in millions of the aforementioned trending “90s kid” lists) that everyone of the same generation has to relate to a certain set of characteristics? You might be a little less comfortable with digital doodads than the average 20-something, but you can crochet like a motherf**ker, and that’s gotta count for something, right? You embrace your Jurassic ways. If potential employers balk at “firstname.lastname@example.org,” well, that’s their loss. You take secret pride in being the lone holdout at dinner not glued to her iPhone. “Oh, you called? I’m sorry, I don’t check my voicemail during meals.” Or ever, you add silently.
STEP 3: “MY GRANDMA CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!” SERIOUSLY, SHE CAN.
Which came first? Your lack of technological interest or your lack of aptitude? Bit of a chicken/egg situation. Reveling in both is all fine and good when you’re among your own. It’s kind of novel and cute to be your friend-group’s token snail-mail enthusiast. And hey, you’re never the one tasked with finding pirated episodes of Game of Thrones when you guys can’t wait an extra day to watch. But all that changes the day you visit your grandma and when asked to fix her Roku you ask, “Wait, what’s a Roku?” Nana can’t meet your eyes and suddenly you’re less quirky and a lot more pathetic. Here was your one chance to represent your famously technology-proficient generation, and YOU. FAILED. This shame-spiral continues until, staring down your laptop, you resolve to at last overcome your aversion to all things digital.
STEP 4: NAME YOUR IPHONE (ANYTHING BUT VANESSA. I HAVE DIBS.)
Aesop once said “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Buuuut he also made a career out of telling stories about talking frogs and donkeys who wanted to be king, so let’s consider the source, shall we? Actually, familiarity breeds familiarity. And really, who knows you better than your technology? Even the most tech-illiterate among us has sent out their share of embarrassing drunken texts. (Actually, especially the most tech-illiterate among us. Because they accidentally forward them to their entire contact list.) Like it or not, your technology has seen you at your worst. So why not make friends? ‘Billy’ or ‘Mortimer’ sounds a lot cuddlier than ‘MacBook Pro,’ doesn’t it? You can’t fear what you love! But you also can’t have pool parties with your new buddies. Resist the temptation, it’ll end badly.
STEP 5: TIME TO PUT THE ‘KNOWLEDGE’ IN TECH-KNOWLEDGE-Y!
Now that you’ve bonded with technology, you’ll want to learn about it. Think of it as your new, perpetually house-trained pet. Do some research — poll your human friends about what browser is quickest (Pssst — Firefox) and which apps are best. But don’t be surprised if they scarcely recognize this new incarnation of you, or even get a little jealous of what you and Mortimer have. Peruse the message boards you now totally know how to use, or if you’re feeling really ballsy, forgo Reading The Directions. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn once you’re no longer intimidated. And you did it all without a single trip to the Genius Bar — Steve Jobs would be rolling over in his brushed-aluminum, Apple-stamped grave (too soon?).
Image Credit: Montréal Campus