My youngest son, just ten-years-old, showed me his custom-designed Linux operating system yesterday.
He had been unhappy with his Windows XP system and downloaded the Linux start-up software on my computer and used the discs to install everything on his, then fiddled with all the programs to get what he wanted just right.
He was particularly proud of getting the flash programs to run the way he wanted.
And it occurred to me to worry that my kids are out-geeking me.
So I made a list of what they do better than me.
Which was kinda depressing, especially on the tech side, so I made a counter-list of what I can still do better than them. Luckily, I was able to fill out my list. But they’re gaining fast.
Geeky Things My Kids Do Better Than Me:
1. Write software. The above youngest son is busy teaching himself game programming. His summer reading is adult computer textbooks. I really should just call MIT now and tell them to save his spot.
2. Find free ebooks. I have a Sony eReader 505 for a trial run. But the kids were the ones who found all the free books available for it, beginning with Project Gutenberg.
3. Play video games. Even on the Wii Sports games, they win. But I almost won at boxing.
4. Write fan fiction. The oldest daughter has a thriving fanfiction audience in several Young Adult fantasy fandoms.
5. Play chess. Well, partially. I can still beat the youngest daughter. But probably not for long.
And let’s not even mention how much better they are than me at cell phones.
But here’s my list.
Geeky Things I Do Better Than Them:
1. Web Research. I’ve had to do a ton of research for several of my novels, ranging from minor Roman gods to container ships, so I’ve learned to work the search engines.
2. Superheroes. Yes, they have their favorites, like Runaways. But I am the go-to expert for history. I tend to get peppered with many questions during Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which draws on the extensive history of the DC Universe.
3. Classic SF action movies. The eldest son, a teenager, has been on a search for good movies, so I’ve been slowly introducing him to the good stuff, including the Aliens movies, the Terminator series (yes, even the last one), and the best zombie movies.
4. Twitter and blogs. So far, I’m still better at either of these than they are. I think I’m more disciplined. Or maybe they ignore these because they’re better with instant messaging. If so, I don’t want to know.
5. Hiking. You’d think they would have more energy than I do on a hike but, so far, they run out of steam faster when we tackle the trails in the local wildlife preserve.
Looking at the lists, they’re definitely gaining on me. But I can write science fiction better than they can. And I have a book coming out next year. So that’s a trump card.
At least for now.