Christmas morning: I awoke early and let the dog out. It was a very analog experience. Once my wife and son joined me with eyes a little bleary from staying up too late the night before, we pursued the next round of analog experiences: opening presents. We were careful to sort our paper into the recycling pile and the plastic into the trash pile, always with an eye toward using those ribbons and bags for one more year.
This was the year my son found himself on the receiving end of a lot of clothes. I told him that this was a trend he would have to look forward to many more Christmas mornings with sweaters and robes and the like. Toys will continue to come his way, but not in the waves that they used to. Now that he is in high school, it is important for his mother to help nudge him toward a sense of style without making it feel like she is attempting to dress him. That's why I put a couple of Hot Wheels cars in his stocking.
Mattel and Hasbro are experiencing some of that same ennui, but theirs stems from the trend of American kids away from Barbies and GI Joes onto the digital frontier. Tablets and smartphones are taking the place of more traditional toys under the tree. Analog. Imagine my surprise when, at the end of the flurry of packages, I opened my very own miniature tablet. It was a new piece of technology, one that was distinctly from this century. The laptop that I used to have breathed its last over the summer, but it was a relic from the nineteen hundreds. Windows XP? What's that? Suddenly I was thrust into a world of apps and touch screens. Did this mean that I would have to start texting? Or playing Angry Birds? I looked around for a Tonka truck or a Lionel train, but none were to be found. The lid to Pandora's box was open, and I sat, transfixed. What could I make of this new thing? I was told that I could watch movies on it. I could track my fantasy football scores on it. I could send e-mail. I could play Angry Birds.
Maybe someday soon I will be writing blogs on my tablet. But not today. I'm still feeling a little analog. Just a little.