In one of his "weekly ruminations," Norm Kent, publisher of SFGN, went on a rampage against technology for hampering, disrupting and interrupting his daily life.

He calls these events technological breakdowns, and correctly so. Most importantly he asks "What works anymore?" His anti-tech tirade went after Comcast, AT&T, Wi-Fi, the internet, even microwave ovens and the shortage of electronic chips. Good points.

It is a beautiful sunny morning, not a cloud in the sky, no wind, all is quiet. I am writing this as a draft on my Samsung tablet. It is 10 a.m., the electricity and the internet have been out since 7 a.m. FPL promises power will be restored by 2.30 p.m. Often I think I should be a Luddite and swear off any new piece or advancement in technology. I have had enough. And then ATT sends me a free Samsung Galaxy to replace my still functioning beloved BlackBerry because it is no longer compatible with their 5G network and... I get sucked in all over again.

Every day I discover new functions and new apps. One of my favorites, I know it has been around for a long time but I never had it on my phone, is Shazam with its extraordinary ability to recognize any song being played in a bar, in a store, in a mall and while I enjoy it and think that's its Google has already moved up another notch by being able to recognize a song title from MY singing it no matter how out of tune I am or how badly I murder the lyrics.

I know this is not the end of it all. I am pretty sure that in the not-so-distant future I will be able to ask Google personal questions like "Hey Google, what is the name of that guy that lives on Long Island, he is a bartender, I know his first name starts with a D but I can't remember it, you know the one I had a drink with last time I went to NYC before the pandemic.” And voila' Google, in a nanosecond will come up with first and last name and connect me directly with my friend's Facebook page. Google is really better than Prevagen.

I guess I will not allow myself to become a Luddite after all, technology is addictive alas frustrating, I have seen my share: The transistor radio, the telex machine, the fax machine, color TV, the remote, the answering machine, the LP, the cassettes, the CD, the Walkman, the Discman, pagers, VCRs, iPods and ipads, email, smart TVs, it is endless and even though they can be frustrating and often don't work or fail you, after a while we take them for granted. 

As Mr. Norm Kent said in his column, “...I'm trying to laugh. What else can you do? Destiny comes at you blindsided and like adversity, you adapt, you adjust, and you scream a lot.” 


Pier Angelo was born in Italy, moved to England at the age of 17 and learned English at the Nelson School of English. He attended college and graduate school in Manhattan. In 2009 he founded SFGN with Norm Kent. Now he’s retired with his husband Tom and his Affenpinscher Cabbage. He still enjoys writing his column Off The Wall for SFGN.


Off the Wall | Trailblazers Writing History