Since change is the rule and continually happening you would think we would be at ease it. We see it coming yet we usually react with anxiety and trepidation. Our brains run amok change will cause more change which will cause us to change which will annihilate our world as we know it. We also whitewash the past as something good, static, and preferable to this god-awful now. The nostalgia for times not true worsens at Christmas when we compare Christmas ‘now’ to Christmas ‘once upon a time”

I am no better at this. As I age I see the youngsters going to hell in a handbasket with their TikTok and lack of social skills and inability to write. Oh the horror. But then I check myself and I think back when I was a boy and my grandparents felt the same emotions about my generation with their crazy calculators and maleficent microwave ovens and nobody learning Latin. We were going to turn into idiots who won’t be able to add two and two. “You won’t have a calculator on you at all times you know!” Grandmother Spo said.* My maternal grandmother bemoaned microwaves will ruin cooking and young wives won’t be able to make a meal.

I recently had an elderly patient grumble about kids not learning cursive. I secretly agreed with her but instead asked her how many words can you type in a minute. Her grandchildren can and they work in jobs that demand typing skills. No one is asking them to write memos by hand in cursive while she is tapping at keyboards using two fingers.**

Trouble is we are wired to see new and unfamiliar things as a threat. Novelties are sinister substitutes for old things and not add-on/niche inventions. Yet this seldom happens. Margarine didn’t make the diary industry go out of business. No one ‘cooks’ in the microwave; we use them for thawing and heating things which is blessedly faster than wrapping leftovers in foil to warm up in an oven (remember doing that?) There are a lot of examples. Apparently ancient Greeks deplored books to memorized verse. Radio, then TV, then AOL (remember that?), and now TikTok will turn youth’s minds into mindless gunge. You see the pattern.

I recently heard a lecture on this topic and the speaker pointed out when confronted with anything not status quo we go through four stages

Panic. First you panic. This is understandable so don’t feel bad when it happens. Then (hopefully) it dies down as curiosity kicks in and the mind remembers having been here/done this before and this too will sort out somehow.

Adaptation. We are very good at this. Recently at work I got a new king-size-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown new computer with a screen as wide as a boat. It takes up the whole desk and blocks my view of the patients. I can’t figure out where everything is on the new device. But I am learning. I will soon move the desk around to accommodate things.

The new norm. Most Spo-fans are old enough to remember the barbaric dark times before the internet, before microwaves, before cellphones, and instant communication. I don’t think most of us would really want to return to these times. Which leads us to…..

Wouldn’t have it any other way. As I type this I am taking a pause from writing notes in the electronic health records which includes prescriptions sent directly to the drug stores. I would not want to return to handwritten notes (in cursive) and prescriptions, yet when they were first introduced everyone in Medicine lost their minds with suspicion and jeremiad rants Medicine would fall apart.

As soon as the new things settle into the ‘wouldn’t have it any other way’ and things are status quo Dame Change turns The Wheel of Time around and something else will arises to induce panic and threat and the cycle repeats.

*Jokes on you Grandma, I do, it’s called a cellphone.

**She didn’t much appreciate this.