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Byron Shire
May 31, 2023

Life was meant to get easier?

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Life is so much easier since the days of my youth – a time when my father had survived ‘the war to end all wars’ but didn’t survive bankruptcy in the ‘Great Depression’.

Then there is my experience at high school. All through World War II, we dug up the treeless, bitumen covered school yard at lunch time to make slit trenches – all the while not knowing whether we would be invaded.

Now all seems so much easier. That is until I rang from my Telstra landline to check the price of a local call from a public phone. Twenty-seven minutes later I was told the answer, 50 cents. I had spoken to six people of interesting and different accents. Welcome to modern Australia.

It’s made me think about us older citizens trying to make our way in this fast-changing world.

I’m 88 years old. I’ve got a body full of stents. I’m described as ‘frail aged’. I buy postage stamps to stick on envelopes to pay my bills by cheque. I don’t have a mobile ‘phone. I don’t have a computer. I’ve tried, but haven’t been able to master them.

I know, I know. I should make a bigger effort. Instead I rely on smiles, frowns, gestures, voice tones and eye contact to aid my discourse.

I have good friends who recognise my age-driven inertia in our electronics saturated culture. They understand and do their best to keep me in touch.

Others, not so lucky, also electronically frail retreat to their lonely four walls and despair of a future deprived of life-affirming contact.

This is surely euthanasia by exclusion.

Ken (Stents) Nicholson, Kingscliff

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