I had dinner with Grandpa tonight. We discussed our usual topics…politics, religion, money, the relative tastiness of fat-free sharp cheddar. The highlight of the night was my Grandpa’s presentation of his new gadget.
Before I explain the product, I need to explain my Grandpa. My Grandpa turns 81 this year, although I doubt anyone would guess he’s anywhere near 70. Does the following list of attributes sound like an 80 year old to you?
- Loves his Tivo
- Is on his third digital camera
- …and second photo printer and scanner
- …and third computer in 8 years
- Thinks iPods are rather slick
- Watches The Daily Show with Jon Stewart every night (thanks to Tivo)
- Has On-Star and knows how to use it
- Has made whole CDs filled with scanned photos from the family’s past
- Has outwitted squirrel after squirrel in defense of his bird feeder’s stock of seeds
- Will go to church as long as he always gets his jelly-filled donut
- Walks 2 miles a day
- Loves Applebee’s Riblets and Uno’s pizza
You’ll notice all the gadgets in that list…I can’t even begin to enumerate all of the gadgets he has for fishing, cooking, home maintenance and anything else you can think of!
So, it prbly shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, that my Grandpa tonight showed me his latest gadget, the Humminbird SmartCast RF20. This device is similar to a depth finder…it uses sonar technology to map the lake, its bottom and any fish swimming around. However, this device is much more than a normal depth finder…you attach it to a fishing pole/line, allowing you to cast it out away from the boat. The bobber contains all the sonar technology; it scans the lake and transmits the data wirelessly to an LCD display device you attach to your fishing pole.
My Grandpa was quick to point out the beauty in the design of the product. Like any good gadget, the little touches are what make it even better. The bobber has two exposed terminals…when placed in water, a circuit is closed in the bobber and it begins pinging and transmitting the results to the display. When you reel in the line and take the bobber out of the water the circuit opens again, saving the bobber’s battery life. The display device has a number of different attachments, to fit any size rod. Heck, I’m not an angler by any stretch of the imagination, but even I could see the beauty in this design. All for a street price of under $75 bucks!
So, yeah. I come from a long line of gadgeteers. My Grandpa, my Dad, myself. Someday, hopefully my children as well. The continuing love of new things, not only accepting change but also driving it oneself is surely a sign of an awake mind. It brings me no greater joy than to see my Grandpa still alive in this way…it gives me hope that I’ll never lose my spark, my love of change.