Editor's note

Men of a certain age are supposed to act younger these days. The best way is to literally tap technology. My problem with acting younger is the cell phone, or smartphones.

Sep 9th, 2013
Pg8

by Mark Hartley

Men of a certain age are supposed to act younger these days. The best way is to literally tap technology. My problem with acting younger is the cell phone, or smartphones. Due to my deafness, I can't hear the other person on a cell phone. So I just make do with a tablet. Tap this app. Tap that app. Have I shaved 20 years off my appearance yet?

Smartphones, of course, don't forcibly require you to listen to anything. You can tap this and tap that all day long without a single sound being made. So here's the other problem with this editor of a certain age. If you need to use symbols, emoticons, or illegitimate abbreviations to text with me, I probably don't want to talk with you anyway. The English language is a fine challenge for all of us to savor over a lifetime.

I still learn new twists about the language every day. A former colleague of mine recently used defenestration in a sentence with me. I had to go look up the definition. For RDH writers, I strongly recommend just saying "throwing out the window" instead of defenestration. A writer should not lament, "When my colleague pointed out that I missed a spot on the distal of No. 23, I wanted to defenestrate him."

It sounds worse than it actually is, right? The retaliation sounds as awful as decapitation. If the window is closed, of course, and glass shards are dangerously landing everywhere, or if you're being tossed from the top floor of a building, it may be a coin toss to some of us on whether to be decapitated or defenestrated.

As widespread and popular as smartphones are, I'm willing to bet a small sum that no one has ever texted the word defenestrated. Quite possibly, though, ">]>" means the same thing. "I would love to throw you out the window right about now" works for any direct communication with me.

So where are hygienists of every age in this discussion of tap-tap-tapping along? Our marketing department infrequently sends out a survey to hygienists regarding the use of technology for professional reasons. The most recent survey was conducted last July, and I constructed the chart with an old-fashioned desktop computer that made me look at least five years older. Overall, 1,565 dental hygienists participated in the survey, and 12 declined to state the age range they are in at this fine juncture of life. Good for them.

In general, there seems to be a slight decrease in taking advantage of technological communication skills among hygienists based on age. But if you wish to argue with me about my evaluation of "slight decrease," I may defenestrate you. The window beside this old-fashioned desktop computer is on the first floor, so it probably wouldn't hurt that much.

Mark Hartley
markh@pennwell.com
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