As I grow older, I know more each day than I have ever known before.
The difference is that I don’t keep all my knowledge in my head. A lot of my information and facts and wishes are kept in my telephone — my other head, my secondary brain, the wise and savvy phone where I keep all the extra stuff I need to know.
There’s nothing my telephone doesn’t know — my well-named “smart” phone. My original brain doesn’t mind that my new auxiliary brain is a godsend and not a rival. We are a two-headed team.
For those of you who have yet to add a smartphone to the cause of remembering, it is more than an electronic telephone. It is a wide-open access to a huge ball of knowledge encompassing practically everything known to humans from the Garden of Eden, to the Middle Ages of art, to the death toll of World War II, to all the signs that our next presidential election will bring permanent happiness to everyone in the world. (Or maybe not.)
If you are forgetful like me and millions of other people our age, you no longer need to struggle when remembering the names of people, places and things. If you find yourself forgetting half of what you know and need to know, your spare brain is at your service in seconds.
For once, I am not joking. A weary brain can be strengthened with a telephone as surely as your eyeglasses can keep you reading and your hearing aids keep you listening.
The smartphone will also tell you what movies are playing where you live. Your extra brain will give you the weather report, the news of the day, and the good and bad of this year’s elections.
If you can’t remember who those two male actors were in that Marilyn Monroe movie, your smartphone will tell you it was Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. (I just looked that up for you on my phone.)
When it comes to books, it was John Steinbeck who wrote “East of Eden.” (You also can read that novel on your smartphone.)
Most of that information is given to you in a semi-authentic female voice speaking your language.
Your original human brain may forget some of that, but your telephone brain almost always comes through.
I have another unfortunate question that doesn’t necessarily produce a legitimate answer:
How come the computer world can so generously hand such a golden gift to seniors as a memory jog, but without simplifying a smartphone that is still 100 times more confusing than driving an automobile? Smartphones are mostly smart, but the same is not socially true of isolated computer wonks.
Bear in mind, most smartphones are no larger than a box of Junior Mints at the movies. And yet, a smartphone is an access to practically everything on earth today and throughout history.
But it doesn’t work if you don’t bear down a bit to get familiar with how to use the miracle in your trembling hand. In previous times we all learned how to drive a car, operate a radio and then save the world from Hitler.
What’s a little thing like adding an auxiliary brain and learning how to navigate it?
But what if you can’t find a computer expert to help you? Avoid the experts. Go to your 12-year-old grandchild for help. Thirty-year-old electronic experts are too old to teach you anything. They are yesterday’s newspaper.
At least, that’s what my smartphone just told me.
Columnist Bill Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.