I made it all the way through high school and college without Googling a thing. Think about that.
Actually, I hate it when I stop to think. It's unsettling.
Tuesday is New Year's Day, when we sweep out the old and usher in the new. I'm running an extension cord to the curb so I can sit and listen to a stack of my 45s on the hi-fi while I await the trash truck. Every time I stop to think, that's how gray and grizzled I feel.
Honest, I was born in this century.
No, wait, let me stop to think about that. It was 1950-something or other. I can't remember for sure if it was the ''something'' or the ''other.'' But I can see that the number staring at me through the cellophane of my new desk calendar is 2013.
Sigh. I truly am a relic from a previous epoch. A dinosaur from a different museum. A caveman from another stone age.
The United States marks its 237th year of independence in 2013. If I'm counting on my fingers and toes correctly, by the time the year's over, I'll have lived through 23 percent of American history - 24 percent if you start when George Washington became president in 1789.
Think about that. Of everything that's happened to my country 'tis of thee since the Declaration of Independence, I've witnessed about a fourth of it.
When did the country become so young?
Back in Mrs. Cuffman's fourth- grade classroom, pretty much everything was ancient history to me. Now I am ancient. Or possibly history.
On the plus side, if I'd go back to school, I won't have to study as hard.
Which got me to thinking - do you realize that I survived every one of my teenage years without either a cell phone or a computer. We were stuck with things called books, which we found in a place called the library.
Somehow, we muddled all the way through college without an iPod among us.
Well, some of the rich kids did have expensive, bulky Walkmans clipped to their belts so they could play cassettes. (Walkmans didn't come in 8-track size.)
It's true. Your Uncle - I mean, Pappy - Burtie lived in an uncivilized culture before MTV, pocket calculators or Ronald McDonald. (That's right, I'm older than Ronald McDonald. Think about that. Personally, I'd rather not.)
It was a big deal when I got my first transistor radio. It was one of those fancy ones that got FM as well as AM.
If we didn't know our way to the gas station, we didn't consult TomTom. We asked some random stranger whose name might be Tom, and we'd get directions like this: "Well, you go a fur piece thataway until you come to the place where Millers' barn used to be, hang a left and go for about 50 or 60 fence posts, and then you oughta come to the big rock that ol' Sneedlehouser rolled onto the corner to keep out the plows in the winter of '48...''
You can't get directions like that from some stupid GPS. We had adventures back then. These days, you risk ending up where you meant to go.
But back then, we knew that if we ever lived to see 2000, we'd be buzzing around in flying cars and taking weekend trips to resorts on the moon. I was just thinking about that. I think it means the future's not here yet, which means we're not as old as we thought.
So have a happy new year while we're young enough to enjoy it. I think.
----- Trade thoughts with Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.