They year was 1981. I was a little 11-year-old girl, and I loved to watch The Jetsons, well, seemed like every day. I loved that show, perhaps a bit of my SciFi Geek coming out phosphorescently. In a world where I had to do such outrageous things as empty the dishwasher, vacuum the living room, and sometimes even mow the lawn (the nerve!), a life where all one had to do was push a button seemed pretty great to me. After all, that would leave me more time to watch cartoons, like The Jetsons.
There was one episode that just didn’t do it for me, though. Jane, getting ready to do her normal wifely duties, went to push a button for dinner or cleaning or something, and suddenly all her fingers clawed up and knotted around each other. She couldn’t straighten them out, so she couldn’t push any buttons. That meant no food, no cleaning, no nothing. The doctor said she was pushing too many buttons, and I stood up and shouted at the TV, “That’s ridiculous!” As if she could have an ailment from pushing buttons! She didn’t know real work like setting the dinner table or taking my little sister with me to my friends. There life was so easy with all their automation and computers and
Well, here I am 30 years later, and guess what. My fingers are clawing up from pressing too many buttons.
I started working with computers on a daily basis in 1996. Now, every day is spent either writing or marketing for 8-12 hours, and do I feel Jane Jetson’s pain. My 41-year-old fingers are missing more keys than ever before as a type, slowing down production to backspace, etc. Mousing is becoming more painful by the day, as my first two fingers on the right hand (from clicking and scrolling) have repetitive motion injuries, not to mention my right wrist on which sometimes I have to wear a brace. The touch pad on my MacBook Pro requires one to depress to click, rather than just tap, which is really cool for when you’re typing, as the cursor isn’t jumping all around if your palm happens to touch it. But when traveling without my USB mouse, the trackpad is all I can use to navigate and click. After two hours, the pain shooting up my right arm and settling in my shoulder nerves is so intense it takes it weeks to recover, largely because I keep working anyway.
Enter the iPhone and iPad. TOUCH SCREENS…they’ll save my middle-age joints, right?
Wrong. Even the tapping, pinching, scrolling, turning, etc. done directly on the touch screen irritates my already injured joints. Although it is better than clicking a mouse, the damage is done.
Every time I hold my hand and try to tend to my aching digits, I think of Jane Jetson. Her injuries, turns out, not so absurd after all.