Learning The Lindy

Bob James

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In the mid-1980s, my ex-wife and I got it into our heads we should learn ballroom dancing and enrolled in a 12-week class.

The instructor was a world-class dancer, as graceful and lithe as Gene Kelly. He showed no sympathy or patience for plodding, lubberly clodhoppers like me.

He devoted the class to a single dance, the Lindy, insisting that, if you learned its steps, every other ballroom dance would come easily.

(For you squares, the Lindy, named for aviator Charles Lindbergh, is a swing dance made popular during the Jazz and Big Band eras. It's better known today as the Jitterbug.)

The Lindy proved too much for me, as it turned out.

By the end of the class, I not only failed to learn it, I failed to learn any discernable dance step—and nearly forgot how to walk.

Technophobic adults—of whom there are millions—should heed my experience.

To participate fully in today's world, you need to dance with technology; but you don't have to master the digital equivalent of the Lindy.

For a tech clodhopper, that's a fool's errand.

Instead, just learn how to open a PDF, for example; download and install an app; click through a website; and post on Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram.

Those steps will do nicely.

Related: Tik Tok: Is It Right For You?

Technophobic adults are legion: one-third of Americans over 65—over 18 million people—have never used the Internet, according to Pew Research Center, and two-thirds have never used social media. Of those who do, one-third say they have little or no confidence in their ability to navigate digital technology.

I've encountered my share of these technophobes working as a volunteer for several nonprofits and can tell you their digital incompetence really gums up the works.

I can't imagine how it must gum up their lives, when you can't pay a bill, retrieve a document, order a prescription or make an appointment without using some company's portal.

Technophobic adults say laptops, tablets and smartphones are too hard to use and that the Internet is an unfathomable labyrinth.

And there's truth to that.

Related: Harvest Time

But there are IT and digital literacy crash-courses galore for seniors at public libraries, churches, community centers, storefront academies, and two-year colleges; and, during pandemics, there friends and family members willing and able to tutor.

After all, you don't need Gene Kelly to teach you a few basic steps.

NOTE: If you know a technophobic adult, please share this with him. You'll be doing all of us a favor.

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel


Bob James

Bob James is a second-act still-life painter and obsessive blogger. His oil paintings can be found on his website.

While first to admit all his opinions are merely his own, Bob agrees with Oscar Wilde, who said, “In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”

He currently resides in Delaware.