Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yes, but can it core a apple?

I was just in a Shop Rite checking out, and as the cashier was taking the money from the guy ahead of me for his order, he offered to give her a quarter in addition to the bills he had already given her. I believe the amount of the order was something-dollars and 23 cents.
Well, since she had already entered the amount of the bills into the computerized register, after momentarily looking like a deer in headlights, she told him that it was not possible because she had already entered the amount of the paper money.
I found it quite disturbing that we now live in a society where a teenager cannot comprehend giving back 2 cents and one more dollar than the computer says rather than the 77 cents originally calculated by a soulless machine.
Whether she thought it would screw up her register or that she simply was incapable of figuring it out is irrelevant (I'm guessing it was both). It just goes to show that youth today has come to rely too heavily on automation. They no longer have the basic skills that most of us learned at a very young age.
Remember years ago? Before the computer age? The three very basic skills we were taught were reading, writing, and arithmetic. Somewhere along the way we dropped two of those primordial elements of our life. The penmanship of most of the kids I've seen lately is absolutely atrocious, and they don't know basic math.
On a related note, I was floored to discover that many kids today do not know how to tell time on an analog clock! Are you kidding me?
Look, I understand that we've made great strides in technology, but does that justify an evolution towards complete dependence on it? Shouldn't we still be raising kids with the basic skills to be self-functioning in the event there's ever a situation where there are no machines to function for them?
Make no mistake, I am not one of those stubborn old fools that is resistant to change and advances in technology. In fact, I take advantage of it to the fullest. I am composing and posting this from a small computer/phone/media player/camera/video recorder/etc., while sitting in my car.
But here's the thing...if I didn't have this little device, I am capable of picking up a pen and paper and writing all this down in either legible printing or script (another thing that seems to have gone by the wayside).
I can also figure out taxes, tips and change without the use of any mechanical device. Hell, when I was in college, I worked as a cashier on a manual cash register where I had to add the tax myself. With the tax rate being 5% at the time, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out tax; but it's a basic math skill you'd be hard pressed to find in todays youth.

So, to paraphrase the question asked by Ed Norton to chef of the future Ralph Kramden, with all these fancy new fangled technological advances, can it core a apple?

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