Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday at work, our server was down all day and we couldn’t email anyone. At first it was inconvenient, but actually, I got a lot of work done. Still, it got me to thinking how much technology has changed our working world since I’ve been working in the world.

When I was unable to email some documents to an agency in Peoria, I wanted to get out a typewriter, type a letter (with an actual carbon copy to keep on file) and mail it there with a stamp on it that I had licked. That’s how we actually corresponded when I had entered the workforce many years ago at the age of 17.
(The word for ‘fire’ back then was also ‘ga’.)

I remember when my employer first got inter-office email. It was the early 90s, way before the internet. We’d type an email and then immediately call our colleague: “Did you get it? Oh, that is so cool!” Do you remember doing that?

For the past three days, my bank’s online banking service was also broken. I had absolutely no idea how much I had in my checking account nor could I pay any bills. I wasn’t in danger of becoming overdrawn (remember, I couldn’t pay any bills) but it was still a little disconcerting not to be able to look at my money online. Keep a running balance in a checkbook? Are you kidding? What’s a checkbook anyway? For that matter, what’s a check?

When I was in high school and college, if you wanted money you actually had to cash a check or go to the bank and withdraw it. The teller would walk into the vault, find your cubbyhole with money it in, count some out and give it to you. (That’s how I imagined it anyway.)

Then, in the early 80s, we got Automated Teller Machines which never actually worked for the first five years they were around. Remember that?
I was working in a bank back then and one old crusty customer vowed that he would never use one of those “tit-less tellers.”
Real classy.

So, there we were at the bank, processing all these new applications for ATM cards. Each customer had filled out their application indicating what they wanted their four-letter/number PIN to be. As we sat there entering in hundreds of applications, a pattern began to emerge; a pattern that made the differences among men and women very obvious.

The most popular PIN that women selected was L-O-V-E. We’d all be sitting there and one of us would occasionally announce, “I got another LOVE one here” and we’d all stick our fingers down our throats.

The most popular PIN that men selected? Well, it was a four-letter word beginning with the letter F .

And there you have it; the difference between men and women.

Anyway, I hope our email is up and running at work soon. Otherwise I’m going to have to fax these documents to Peoria – that is, after I find out if we still have a fax machine somewhere.


At 10:57 PM , Blogger Mom said...

50 years ago my boyfriend(now my husband) took me to see the wonderful computer that Cal Tech had just purchased. It took up an entire room. It had less memory than the I-pod he now carries in his pocket. Times have changed.

At 1:21 PM , Blogger Bad Alice said...

I remember when the ATM machine came to college. My life changed radically.


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