Does This Add Up?
I’ve been using mechanical and then digital calculators for half a century, but I still remember the multiplication tables and can add, subtract, and divide “in my head.” I’ve been using keyboards on first typewriters and then computers for the same period, but I can still write a note in cursive script. I’ve had computers since they were first available, and smart phones from the very first Motorola product, but I can still read a hard copy book as well as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times every day, occasionally ripping out articles of interest and help in my work.
If we had a massive electronics and power failure today (which a pulse bomb—EMP—would produce, by the way), most people would become metaphorically deaf, dumb, and blind (I guess, more politically correctly: hearing, mentally, and visually impaired). When a store clerk can’t make change without the computerized register indicating the amount, and even then has trouble actually counting out the change, I have to wonder if that person is in their terminal occupation in life.
My grandchildren take twice the time I do solving math challenges using “new math.” They understand far less about grammar and English than I did in the same grade, and they are very bright kids. But current educational practices force them into the equivalent of going around the block to get next-door.
But what do I know? I still think one and one equals two.