Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian. The Smithsonian selected her photo to represent all teens from a specific decade.
Is the opposite of smart, dumb?
Just when I assumed definitions had changed about as much as possible for 2019, and Scrabble added new words forcing serious players to update their books, the tech teams took language to another stage. I’ve taught English to both high school students, and college ones. Though subject matter, and expectations in writing, differed for the age groups, basic skills were, well, just basic.
Basic. Once, in the ‘80's, it was a computer program. Who’d know that now? I grew up with a basic, (different meaning) watch-face; no one said ‘analog’, it was a dial. An alarm clock had a pin to pull out to set it to signal, and no how-to-use manual was necessary to turn it on or off. My radio had tubes that heated for a bit before sound came through; no surround-sound, just broadcast. No, it wasn’t simple to look up a word as one had to know how to spell it first, and dictionaries were really heavy. How, I told my mother, am I supposed to look up the spelling of pneumonia when it’s pronounced newmoanya and won’t be there! That was confusing!
Integral Algebra was complicated. Puberty’s emotional see-saw changes were confusing. Mixed-messages from family about what was correct behavior in society also seemed ‘mixed’ as how was I to enjoy intelligence but not let people know I was smart, for example.
Daily life became less heavy-lifting as luggage donned wheels, stick-shift cars became automatic transmission, garage doors went up and down by pressing a button, dishwashers concealed soiled dinnerware and cleaned them when we were ready to have that engaged. Microwaves heated by magic, and refrigerators no longer had frost build up. Whole house air-conditioning, telephones free from being secured to a wall, heavy 78rpm records going to LP’s then CD’s and ultimately to i-pods seemed wow. An electric typewriter was easier on the fingers. No speed bicycles became geared... well, these things are a bit humorous to the young who are growing up with computers, cell phones, artificial intelligence, hands-free phones in a car, and soon even driverless automobiles. But now smartwatches are a reality.
Smartwatch. It detects when the wearer falls down and calls 911; honestly. It has e-mail, and telephone, and weather reports, and messaging, and measures footsteps, tells time.... for starters. Having a phone/Internet/ etc. on a wrist not even tethered to a telephone in the pocket is a freedom. But language is, again, laughing at the user. This simple all-in-one device that literally is worn on the wrist has complications. To uncomplicate, Apple’s face has the ability to have each corner customized to the wearer’s interest for instant information. Intended to be an addition and to simplify getting, for example, the e-mail or a scheduled appointment quickly seen, these quick access things are literally named Complications. Who chose that word? Wasn’t anyone in one of my English classes. Look up the definition: a difficulty, an involved or confused state, complex consisting of many different and connected parts/not easy to understand. So personalizing the watch face for quick and individual ease involves Complications.
The four corners of the device offer a potential use of the space: leaving it blank so one Complication can be nothing. Until that word can be changed to ‘personalization’ or something suggesting the real intention of those corners, I’ll opt for ‘nothing’.