• Davis Young

They call me Modem Man.


I was surrounded by techie people (aka geeks) when I was growing up in Princeton, New Jersey. Not an iota of that ever rubbed off on me. To be clear, I am not anti-tech. It’s just that I don’t think in a way that leads me in that direction. Just last week I spent the better part of an HOUR trying to login to my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts on our new laptop. Let’s just say it involved several go rounds of wrong passwords, inadvertently closed tabs, multiple “change password” codes, my wife’s email account, extended phone consultation with my daughter and more inadvertently closed tabs. I got it, but it was ... a process.


In the 1950s, we lived in a two-family house. Separated from us by nothing but a wall was the internationally acclaimed mathematician Atle Selberg and his family. Dr. Selberg spent more than 50 years on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, which is described as one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual curiosity (37 Nobel Prize recipients). Go on the internet and you will see this description of Dr. Selberg’s fascinating focus: known for his work in analytic number theory and the theory of automorphic forms, and in particular for bringing them into relation with spectral theory. I couldn’t have said it better myself. How did that not rub off on me?

On one side of our two-family house lived the Brown family. George Brown, a scientist, was a key mover and shaker in development of what is now color television. He was based at RCA’s R & D campus.


On the other side of us was the Dick Melville family. He worked in what resembled a WWII quonset hut across the street from the Institute for Advanced Study. One weekend, he came over and asked my father if the two of us would like to go to where he worked and look at something new called a computer.


I will never forget entering that rundown building. Think of it as one room perhaps 20’ x 40’. When I close my eyes, I can see it today just as it was all those years ago.


Inside that room was a lot of noise – clang, clang, clang – the sound of metal hitting metal. Overhead were hundreds of different color wires resembling airborne spaghetti. All around the room were large, gray metal boxes of various heights and sizes, all connected to each other. It was obvious something important was happening in that room. Dick Melville said, You’re looking at the future. To me then, that was crazy talk. Little did I know the significance of what I was seeing.


Much later in life, I remember the first FAX machines. We had one in our office. It ate lots of shiny slick paper. About two-thirds of the way down each page was a large black line about an inch from side to side. We knew we were on to something great. How can you beat six minutes a page? Surely, we had reached man’s limits with respect to technology.


When the internet first surfaced (thank you, Al Gore), I remember telling a colleague it was a passing fad. As I recall, Bill Gates said something similar at that time. Because of my accumulated technological expertise gained over a lifetime of intense study, our office manager came to call me Modem Man. That was a rank I wore proudly.


It’s been a long technological journey for me. Thanks to a lot of hard work, I am now able to turn my desktop computer on and off, cut and paste copy for my weekly blog and send a text message on my phone. At last I understand the difference between FacedIn and LinkBook. It hasn’t been easy, but I have persevered. Modem Man is alive and well and catching up.

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!


  • Davis Young

A full day of work is highly overrated.


As the world of work is slowly opening up again, we have arrived at a moment of truth ..... and the truth is America is on the edge of becoming a lazy nation. Very lazy.


A lot has been written about the workplace of the future and how technology will replace workers, how we will telecommute from our home offices and so on. What very few of us are talking about is the broad trend toward working less.


Our basic non-Leap Year calendar has 365 days a year. Begin by subtracting 104 of those days for weekends. That leaves 261 days for work, or does it?


My extensive research shows there are 10 federal holidays plus an extra one every four years for Inauguration Day when a presidential term begins, and most newly minted Presidents start their job by not working on day one. President Biden set a bad example by working, but let’s assume the next President will not work on the first day. So, subtract 11 days for federal holidays to accommodate Inauguration Day. Now we are down to a potential 250 workdays.

Then there are days that surround holidays. Christmas Eve. The day after Thanksgiving. Good Friday. And, so on. Everyone stretches those as far as they can. Let’s round those off to another five days or so. Now we are at 245.


Let’s say we average 15 vacation days a year. New subtotal is 230.


Subtract another 10 days for being sick. It’s good to take those days off even when we’re not sick. They’re great for activities like bowling or fishing. New subtotal is 220.


In some states like Michigan, big companies give workers a day off for the start of deer hunting season. 219.

What self-respecting management would fail to grant a day off for your birthday? 218.

And, many companies such as the one I worked for celebrate Quarter Days. Employees can use those four days for important personal business like going to the dentist or seeing a divorce lawyer. Bingo – 214.


And, it wouldn’t be accurate if we forgot to give everyone the equivalent of another two days for family emergencies, funerals or school conferences. 212.


Respected academic studies show that even when we are at work, most of us are not engaged to any great extent. This is known by the technical term “screwing around time.” So, it’s probably fair to conclude that perhaps only half of the time we are at work we are really working. That means 212 work days @50% efficiency must be reduced to 106 actual workdays. Give or take a day or so, 106 workdays means most of us are not working 259 days out of a possible 365.


Sounds good to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m too busy livin’ life to be bothered with who’s working and how much. No time for that when there are trips to take and golf courses to play. I never let the so-called dignity of work get in the way of having fun. Fore!

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

  • Davis Young

Tom Terrific and Forever Young.


A few days ago, a very old man named Tom did something spectacular. At the advanced age of 43, he won another Super Bowl. Well, I did something spectacular that same day and I’m 81. I stayed awake through the entire game to watch Tom play.

For centuries, people have talked about, but never could prove, the Fountain of Youth actually exists in a real place for all to experience. Well, it’s real and it has a home. The Fountain of Youth is located in Tampa. No doubt about it. I saw it that Sunday night with my own glaucoma-restricted, cataract-corrected, old eyes. I frequently miss fixing typos in my blog drafts, but I didn’t miss a thing in that game. Tom was Tom Terrific...again. He showed his young whipper-snapper competitor a thing or two, or perhaps a thing or 43.

What keeps running through my mind is how many similarities there are between Tom and me.


Perhaps most obvious is that we both married terrific women. Gisele is dazzling, sensational, smashing, divine, exquisite, heavenly and independently wealthy. Wow! Just as there is a Fountain of Youth, she is a Super Model. Not to be outdone, Karen was a Super Social Worker who was (and is) kind, thoughtful, grounded, intelligent, helpful and someone I am proud to claim as a tax deduction.

Another similarity between HOF-bound Tom and me is that we each took the opportunity for a mid-career change after spending many years working for just one employer. Neither of us lost a step. In fact, making that switch recharged our batteries. There’s a lesson in that and it’s this. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do something new. Today, as a world-class blogger I am actually in my third or fourth life form and looking forward to becoming a zip line instructor next. The absolute worst that can happen to me is a line will snap and I’ll fall a couple hundred feet into a remote forest where I will remain undiscovered for thousands of years just like the Fountain of Youth. But, I’ll show up again somewhere up the road, likely in Tampa.

Tom is known far and wide for taking good care of his body. You need to do that when your occupation may lead to being planted upside down under artificial turf in a nearly empty stadium by some 337-pound angry giant. Like me, Tom does a lot of stretching. He has a nice outdoor office in Tampa. The only real difference between our routines is that I do my stretching in my indoor office in Cleveland. But, make no mistake about it, my workout buddy Tom and I are stretching all the time.

Which gets us to how similar our diets are and we all know you are what you eat. Tom Terrific eats lots of veggies and grains and avocados and fruit smoothies. What I focus on is to make sure I consume all of the essential food groups. On any given day, those include wine, chocolate, mac and cheese, fries and ice cream. I do confess to hating string beans. Like Tom, I look just as I did as a college student. My weight never varies unless I eat a little too much pepperoni pizza. Think about that. Put it in the category of food for thought.

Soon, Tom and I will both be inducted into the Fountain of Youth Hall of Fame. I am 81. Tom is 43 going on 81. Once in a while, I aspire to be 43 again. I suspect when Tom thinks about being 81 - and that will happen sooner than he imagines - that he aspires to be me. There are so many similarities with us. It’s just amazing.


When Tom gets to be 81, I will be moving right along at 119, very likely the oldest person in the world. He’ll still be playing football and seeking his 33d Super Bowl ring while I’ll be the executive director of the Fountain of Youth Museum.


I’m going to make only one change as I think about 119. I’m going to change my first name from Davis to Forever. That way, I’ll be Forever Young just like my hero Tom.

See you in Tampa Bay.

 

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

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