By Jim Whitt
It’s 4:58 PM, Tulsa time. I’m staring at the screen on my laptop surveying what will be my new website. I sent the latest changes for the site to Damon, my technology guru earlier today in a Word document. Suddenly, the changes start to appear miraculously on the screen much like the proverbial hand writing on the wall as described in the book of Daniel. I blinked a couple of times. I’ve been working too hard, I thought and called Damon, “Are you messing with me? I see the changes I sent to you appearing magically on the screen.” Channeling the Wizard of Oz, Damon tells me to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Of course, he is the man behind the curtain.
This is the instantaneous world of technology we live in. It never stops. I look at a non-digital clock in my office, its face frozen at 1:29, with the second hand only eighteen seconds away from 1:30. The stopped clock rests, appropriately, on my Grandpa Whitt’s desk, a remnant of a bygone era. Above it sits a photo from the 2003 Harmon Killebrew Invitational Golf Tournament when my friend Paul Willis invited me to play with his team. Our team picture includes Tommy Davis who won National League batting titles in 1962 and 1963. My eye travels to my Servi-Tech wall calendar. Even though I have an iPhone I still have a wall calendar. That’s telling isn’t it? Continuing clockwise around the room I see another memento from the tournament — a photo of Sondra and me with Harmon Killebrew, one of baseball’s greatest players whose major league career began in 1954.
My laptop is on a table sandwiched between my Grandpa Whitt’s desk and my Grandpa Gassaway’s law table. On the law table sits a photograph of Grandpa Gassaway from the 1930s when he served in Congress. It’s a picture of him with John Nance Garner, one of Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice-Presidents. In a room filled with dated artifacts my website continues to change before my eyes. I look back at the stopped clock. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make time stand still?
When I was a boy I remember telling my mother I wish I had been born 100 years ago. She said her father, my Grandpa Gassaway, used to say the same thing. Interesting isn’t it? Two generations apart and we both wanted to roll the clock back a century. But the clock doesn’t reverse directions nor does time stand still. Time goes by with or without us.
Someone told me the other day that if Henry Ford had asked customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse. I help people adapt and succeed in our rapidly changing world and yet I struggle with it. It’s hard. But then I think about the endless possibilities progress brings. I’m tired of working on developing a new website but then I get excited to think that new site can reach billions of people instantaneously — anywhere in the world. That wouldn’t happen a hundred years ago. I get to be just as much a pioneer as my grandparents or their grandparents before them.
I look around my office one more time at the memories of the past. The clock on Grandpa Whitt’s desk is still stuck on 1:29. Western author Louis L’Amour is staring at it from his photo on the cover of his autobiography a few inches away. How appropriate. The clock on my computer reads 8:28. It keeps changing. I’d better keep changing, too. If I don’t, time will pass me by.
Copyright © 2010 Jim Whitt Purpose Unlimited 918.494.0009
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