It used to happen all the time. I’d be talking with a bunch of friends, and someone would say, “That old movie with the flying car. Who played the crazy uncle?” If no one knew the answer right away, we’d all try to retrieve the information from the dusty recesses of our brains.
“He wasn’t an uncle, he was a grandfather,” someone might volunteer.
“I can picture him,” someone else would say. “Crazy hair. He wore pajamas.”
We’d give up and talk about something else, and then someone would burst out, “Wait! It’s Lionel Jeffries.” We’d all nod, relieved to have figured it out.
These conversations have changed. Now when a friend says, “Who was the good-looking actor in that movie with the mailbox?” someone just says, “Google it!” and we let the computer do the thinking. Whether I’m at home or in the classroom, a laptop computer is always within reach. If I can’t think of something immediately, I just look it up.
While I’m looking things up on google, my parents are doing crossword puzzles every day. They’ve seen studies that suggest that activities that stimulate the brain with little bursts of activity can help stave off Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases associated with aging.
I wonder what our dependence on computers might mean for my generation — and everyone younger than us. By the time I’m in my late 70s, it may be too late for me to start doing crossword puzzles. I’ll be saying to my friends, “Who was that blogger who used to take naked photos of her conference roommates? I can’t seem to remember ….”