To Be Frank - Ageist and, well, eye-ist

It’s a conspiracy, you know. Just because you start to get – how can I put this? – a little bit older. Just because you’re perhaps not functioning at quite the same dizzying heights of razor-sharp efficiency as you once used to. Still no reason for things to start ganging up on you, though.

I first noticed it with CD booklets. Basically I can’t read them any more. Probably because the text on these things seems to be exclusively in a size I can only describe as ant-friendly (as opposed to Adam And The Ants-friendly, I suppose) (but then ridicule is nothing to be scared of).

Yes, I get it that I’m subliminally being told: “You’re only supposed to look at the pictures and listen to the CD” – but I object to that. It’s patronising, ageist, and, well, eye-ist.

As a lifelong music fan – incidentally one who’s still waiting for his dad’s prediction of 40 years ago of “you’ll grow out of it” to come true – I care about this stuff. I actually want to know who wrote the songs, yes even who played triangle on the third track ... or on a more basic level, just what the bloomin’ thing’s called. Without having to put the CD booklet under the microscope, that is. Yes, thank heaven for Wikipedia indeed.

Of course, an unkind person – perhaps anyone under 30 – would say: “Well you grew up in the days of the Beatles and the Stones, when bands made ‘records’ that came in ‘album covers’ that were so big you could read them across the room! Ha ha ha!”

Yes! And how good was that! Album covers were often works of art then – and at least people bought records, not just tried to download them for nothing! But oh look, let’s not go there.

Anyway, why does it have to go so far in the opposite direction? I was given a touch-screen, digital clock-cum-thermometer for Christmas (yes, so I can see how quickly my blood boils) (ha ha).

And yes, a small forest died to make the fold-out instruction booklet, which spewed out of the box with all the length and drama of your average gas bill. And yes, this time with text so small only an especially optically acute ant could read it. In fact, when I eventually did find the clock’s reset button, it seemed cruelly appropriate that it was literally the size of a pinhead.

Because technology’s as bad as text size these days, isn’t it? Why can’t it ever be, oh I don’t know ... straightforward?

Santa also brought me an iPod dock – which people of my generation would basically call a “speaker.” And very lovely it is too ... except that I can’t quite get it to work. Well, I did briefly get it going – long enough for The Other Half to text her daughter, who, suspecting buffoonery, texted back: “Wally!” ... only for it then not to work again.

I strongly suspect this is because my iPod is so ancient it’s no longer compatible with the more slimline modern jacks and sockets. Look I’m sorry, it still works, so why on earth would I replace it?

Do you know what my favourite present was, though? A magnifying glass. Old technology – works every time! Brilliant!




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