It wasn’t a high-tech night (for me) in Cameron

I hereby apologize to the democratic process. When I walked into Bea’s Kitchen in Cameron last week to cover the Milam County primaries the first thing I did was burst into laughter.

No, I’m not one of those cynics. I value our free elections as much as the next guy, even if the next guy is Thomas Jefferson.

What I found funny was an interesting technological slant. As is a tradition in Milam elections, probation officer T.C. Sadler was posting the returns.

Using chalk on a blackboard.

And there, clustered around the squeaking chalk, like yellow jackets buzzing a snow cone at a Little League game, were a bunch of politico types, busily entering the results on their Blackberries.

Isn’t high tech supposed to operate the other way?

In case you are technologically challenged, let me explain what a Blackberry is. It’s a, uh, well it’s one of those...well, you can hold it in your hand and it sure makes you look important.

Wanting to look like an Actual Professional Journalist, I pulled from my pocket the $1.98 calculator I bought at Dollar General and began pushing buttons.

Did you know if you press 11011345, then turn it upside down it reads “ShellOil?”

I then complained to T.C. that he wasn’t pressing down as hard on the chalk as he used to a couple of decades ago.

This had to be the case because I had to get a lot closer to read the results than I used to. And I knew it couldn’t have been my eyes.

T.C. didn’t reply. This was probably because I had been addressing a soft drink machine instead of him. I thought his handshake had been a little cold.

Now before I get accused of being a tech stick-in-the-mud, it’s not true. I work on my own computers, am completely at ease with formatting a hard drive and I’ve installed Windows more times than a member of the carpenters union.

I just find technology a subject for irreverence, not worship.

An example. I recently was dragged into Facebook, which is always described as a “social networking site.”

I don’t need a social networking site, I already have one. It’s called marriage. (My password is “yes, dear.”)

One of the first things I noticed is that Facebook mostly exists so its female members can proudly post what they’re fixing for supper each night.

Last Wednesday night, my cousin Suzanne Jennings in Cow Chip, Oklahoma, fixed chicken and spinach enchiladas for her husband, Jeff.

Earlier, Facebook advised me someone I hardly know answered two questions about me.

They said I was not a good kisser but they would trust me with their life!

I knew it wasn’t my wife because she would have reversed those answers.

This attitude explains why everyone but me was communicating away on their Blackberries and probably reading on Facebook about the suppers they were missing while waiting for more votes to be counted.

While I just strolled around downtown Cameron and looked up at the stars.

Orion was rising over the courthouse, which at night looks much bigger than it does in the day.

I paused in the gazebo, glanced back at the courthouse and thought about the gunfight in that very building 105 years ago between a couple of Milam County lawmen.

An owl glided out of a tree to my right and silently soared across the street, landing regally in another tree and disappearing from view, oblivious to the lights in the county clerk’s office.

Ben Milam’s statue caught my eye, gazing forever toward San Antonio, arm raised, summoning volunteers to his cause.

I wonder if I’m a better kisser than Ben Milam’s statue?

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2010-03-11 digital edition

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