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THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Stumped by little grandson

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Stumped by little grandson

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I never fully realised how much the world has changed in the recent past until a few days ago when one little grand started questioning me about some of my treasures.

I was at home editing a document on the PC with both feet cocked on the edge of the computer desk and with the keyboard in my lap when the little man crawled under the desk and asked, “Granddaddy, what are these?”

I looked down and answered: “Those are records.”

“What are records, granddaddy?”

That brought me to my mental feet as I realised he had backed me into a corner where I would need to punch with all my explanation skills in order to make this already digital savvy toddler understand technology that was originally perfected by legendary inventor Thomas Edison way, way back in 1878.

However, before I could formulate an answer I was floored by another question: “What do you do with them, granddaddy?”

Without any thought to what I was saying I blurted out, “You play them.”

“Are they a game, granddaddy?”

“No. They have music on them to listen to.”

“Can I hear the music on them, granddaddy?”

“I would have to use a record player.”

“What is a record player, granddaddy? Do you have one?”

Before I could answer, he turned his interest from my record collection and was again asking, “What is this, granddaddy?”

“That’s for playing cassette tapes?

“Are cassette tapes a game, granddaddy?”

“No. Cassette tapes also have music on them.

 I showed him a transparent cassette, which he placed to his eyes to see if he could see through it.”

“What’s that rolled up inside, granddaddy?”

“That’s the tape that has the music on it.”

“How do you get the music off, granddaddy?”

“I would have to put it in a cassette player.”

“Do you also put the records in the player to get the music, granddaddy?”

Thankfully, again before I could answer he had wandered to another ancient wonder and was asking, “What is this granddaddy?”

“That’s a fax machine for sending messages to other people?”

“How does it work, granddaddy?

“I would have to write the message on the computer, print it on paper and then send it to somebody else by the fax machine.”

“That’s funny, granddaddy. Mummy and daddy write and send all their messages on their cellphones. Is the fax machine a big cellphone, granddaddy?”

Fortunately again, before I could sprain my brain to explain, he was attracted to another of my technological dinosaurs.”

“And what is this, granddaddy?”

“That’s a video recorder that I can take pictures with of you running and playing?”

“Did you get that from inside your cellphone, granddaddy?”


• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.