The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry
Local columnist 

Trying not to take youthful knowledge for granted


Last updated 8/7/2021 at 3:08pm

If you’ve been around as long as I have you’re probably starting to experience moments with the younger generation that just make you smack your forehead.

For instance in conversation with my early-20s office manager the other day I referenced Roy Rogers, a name that was so common in my generation that everyone knew the name. Heck, we could all name his horse Trigger, dog Bullet and wife Dale Evans. But as soon as the name popped out I knew I’d stepped in a pile of Trigger leave-behind. The stare on her face was as blank as the cartridges the television cowboy used.

“Yeah, I’ve never heard of him,” she said. Then she twisted the knife, “I think maybe my grandfather might know who he was.”

My wife had a similar experience the same day in a speech therapy session. The young ladies asked her to name things that she might have on a desk. She said when she got to adding machine the looks she got were of puzzlement. What was an adding machine? She had to explain. They couldn’t grasp the fact that it had a paper tape.

I told my wife it was good she hadn’t listed a Rolodex, or for that matter even a phone book.

A lot of the things that were an everyday part of life have just about completely left the daily lexicon in life today. If you want a wakeup call on what I’m talking about. Put a rotary dial phone in front of most teens and watch the show. Or you can get some hilarious videos of this on YouTube.

I toyed with not replacing our fax machine at work since most of the time the only thing that comes across it are junk faxes. Besides, the students working the front counter a few feet away from the beast couldn’t use it if their life depended on it. If someone comes in wanting to use the fax they come and get the old man to help.

One day as I was standing behind one of our student hires at the front counter an older gentleman with trembling hands asked the student to make out the check for them and he passed the checkbook across the counter. As the young person turned around and glanced at me with a frightened look I realized they had never made out a check and maybe hadn’t really paid attention as someone else did it.

Needless to say, we had a bit of a life skills session after the customer left and I answered questions I had no idea I would ever be answering for a college student. Not just a college student, a very bright college student.

I try not to take too much for granted while interacting with the younger generation these days but occasionally I let slip references to people like Roy Rogers just so they’ll have to listen to an old fart explain something they have absolutely no interest in at all.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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