Old Technology

A complete stranger walks in, looks at me, and utters a mildly panicked “Hey man, can you give me a jump start?” He’s young, maybe 18 or 19.

“Problems?” I ask.

“Yeah, won’t start. And now the battery is dead.”

I walk with him out to the parking lot. The car is beautiful, some sort of 1970s Mustang, a deep shade of blue.

“Is this your car?”

“Well, sort of…”

“Sort of?” No way am I jumpstarting a stolen car.

“It’s my dad’s, I thought it’d be fun to take it out but now something’s wrong and he’s going to be pissed.”

“Ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?” I joke. He has. Not nearly as funny to him.

I hook him up to my Jeep and let the battery charge a little bit.

“Try it now.” He turns it over a couple of times, but nothing beyond sputtering and dying. Then it occurs to me what the problem is. He isn’t old enough to know how to drive a car where the driver is the engine management system. Sucks when you have to know how the machine works, because there isn’t a computer to think for you.

“Step on the gas pedal once, all the way down and up,” I suggest. Don’t know how he got the car here but right now it’s acting like it needs the choke set.

“You aren’t supposed to do that,” he says matter-of-factly.

“You aren’t supposed to steal your dad’s car, either, especially when you don’t know how it works. Trust me on this, this car isn’t fuel injected.”

This kid has no idea how to drive a carbureted vehicle. Guaranteed he’s never driven a rear-wheel drive vehicle in the snow or on a dirt road, either. Entire generations have now never had to deal with these technologies, for better or worse, because even their lawn mowers are fuel injected and have computers strapped to them.

Less than a minute later he was unhooked from my jumper cables and on his way.

I contend these kids are missing out, especially with the rear-wheel drive in the snow. Fun.

6 thoughts on “Old Technology”

  1. Think about the knowledge that gets lost with each passing generation.

    I know that I can’t fell trees, build fences, butcher hogs, deliver calves, build a barn like my grandfathers generation could. Even though my generation can still drive a manual transmission and clear a flooded carb, things like that will get lost pretty soon also.

    As time passes, what will we loose in the IT space?

  2. I am trying to teach my 19 year old daughter how to drive my manual Jetta. It has fuel injection of course, so its a wussy task (lol). With all the engine kills and clutch slips, it seems like it could be hopeless, but I’ve put on my cloak of patience. FWIW, I succeeded in teaching my wife and son how to start and push my lawnmower! The cat comes next.

  3. *sigh*

    Makes you feel old sometimes, doesn’t it?

    (And you are absolutely right about RWD in the snow. Even more fun if it’s a manual… not for the faint of heart, though.)

  4. I got my first manual pick-up truck at the age of 19. I was a 1989 Ford Ranger. Oh man, what I’d give to go ride around in some snow right now… then again… maybe I’ll just keep the nice, warm sunshine 🙂

    Nice blog!

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