Transitions With Jean Blog

Technology can make us feel stupid

March 1, 2020

First, my message for today: YOU ARE NOT STUPID!

Now, my reason for saying that.

Every single day, I hear someone say, “I’m stupid”. Just this week, it was Mary, who lost her internet connection and didn’t know how to get it back. At work, I heard Denise utter those words when she couldn’t get her printer working. I heard it from Richard, who was trying to FaceTime with me so I could see his piano without driving fifty miles. Then, it was John, who didn’t know how to send a picture from his smartphone. Are you seeing a pattern here?

They may be called smartphones, but technology makes us feel stupid. Just so you know, it took millions of masterminds to make this happen.

Have you spent two hours trying to make some electronic thingy work? You are ready to rip it out of the wall and throw it across the street, then someone looks at your computer/printer/phone/electronics, touches a button and BINGO, it works. Worse, they say something belittling like, “All you have to do is….” I hate those words. They make me feel stupid.

The reason they know the answer is that either they already spent tons of time learning it the hard way OR previously, someone had walked up and shown them the answer.

Make this your mantra: It’s not me. It’s technology!

We love technology when it works. It enriches our life. Look at TVs and how much they have improved in just the past five years. Now, they are big, lightweight, play ten thousand channels, and the quality of the picture these days, wow! It is beautiful. When it works. Now, if I could only figure out how to turn it on when it isn’t working. Exasperating.

Sometimes, I reach the point of no return and call my son (my tech guru) to help me. He patiently will say something like, “Mom, turn it off and back on.” Oh, yeah. Reboot. Sometimes it is the equipment, not the user

Similar to an old poem, when it is good, it is very, very good. But when it is bad, it is horrid!

We are so busy telling ourselves that we are stupid, that we forget that as great at technology is, it often is not functioning correctly. The internet is down. Our bank’s website is under maintenance. Whoever programmed the page we are using didn’t set it up very well. Yes, that happens. Websites are designed by people as fallible as we are.

Next time you are frustrated, remind yourself that you aren’t stupid. You either simply haven’t learned the solution yet or the #?&$ electronic device is not having a good day.

Kids, when Grandma asks you to help her with her electronics, replace the expression, “All you have to do is…” with “Here, let me show you.”
Grandma knows more than you ever will. She actually learned things from living them, instead of taking the easy way out and just asking Google.

Jean Long Manteufel, senior move manager and CEO of Long’s Senior Transitions in Appleton, writes a column on the first Sunday of each month about life changes associated with aging. She can be reached at 920-734-3260 or

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