the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Just Like Dad

My father is as old-fashioned as they come.   When he visits me here in Los Angeles, he wears a suit and tie – even in the summer.   He has never used an ATM at a bank, thinking it will eat up his money.   How long has that new-fangled ATM machine been with us?  It must be over twenty years by now, released to the masses before people even knew what a “PC” or “Mac” were.   I’m sure they have worked out the kinks by now.  When I was a child, I used to be embarrassed going to McDonald’s with my father, as he would just stand there and stare at the board, totally confused by all the meal choices and sizes.  It was like he was stuck in another time period.

Part of growing up is understanding your father.  Part of growing up is becoming just like your father.

I went with Sophia to see Batman Begins.  I was rushing her because I’m one those types that hates to miss the trailers.  I like to be in the theater early to get a good seat.  I also believe that part of the modern-day movie experience is figuring out those movie star scramblers before anyone else in the audience calls it out, ruining it for the rest of us. 

S-K-N-A-H  M-O-T

Tom Hanks!   

There was a long line at the ticket booth at the Pacific Theater in Manhattan Beach.  

The guy behind the glass window announced, “No waiting at the kiosks!”

“Let’s go to the kiosks.” I told Sophia, not really sure what I was getting myself into.

Now many of you might laugh at this, but I have never used one of these machines to buy my movie ticket before.  Neither had Sophia.     Now, remember, I’m as computer literate as they come.  I’ve been using a computer since the days of Wordstar and Mosaic.

Do I put in my Visa first?

I don’t know.

It’s not doing anything. 

Maybe you put it in afterwards. 

Ok, I’m pressing this.  We want to see Batman Begins. 

What theater?

How many theaters is it in?


The one starting in five minutes.

It doesn’t say when it starts.

Yes it does.  Here, theater three.  I’m pressing it. 

Oh, look.  You can buy popcorn here, too.

We’re gonna miss the trailers.

Just get some popcorn.

It says — do you want a combination?


Why do you need a combination?  Jeez, that’s expensive.

Because you ordered a large everything.

It didn’t give me a choice.

Go back.

I can’t.   Oh, no.  I have to start over again!

Finally, I ordered the tickets, a medium popcorn, and a small drink.   We went to the concession stand.  There was another long line.  I was confused again.

What do we do now?

I don’t know.  We already paid.  Give them your receipt, I guess.

What receipt?

The receipt from the kiosk for the popcorn.

Don’t you have it….?

I don’t have it.  You have it.  What’s wrong with you?

Dad, I finally understand.


  1. Noel

    1960 — ATM predecessor installed in NY.
    1971 — First true bank ATMs

    Your dad must have been old-fashioned from birth… 🙂

    ATM timeline:

  2. Jack

    Some people just don’t like change. 🙂

    I loved the movie, thought that it was a lot of fun.

  3. Leese

    I work with a lot of older folks who just don’t get it sometimes. The company is trying its best to be high-tech but the employees are technology-challenged so most of the time the technology just sits there waiting to unleash its full potential.

    Simple things like setting meetings. We friggin have Outlook but everyone still email memos to set meetings.

    And everyone knows emails are not always read in a timely manner yet people still insist on using them when we have Instant Messaging available.

    I think I’m the only person in my group that belongs to Generation X around here and even though it’s not my job I end up being the IT support person here for things like “empty your mailbox” or “press ctrl alt del.”

    The older generation also try to make sense of everything, which makes it hard for me to explain things like “that’s just the way it is, it’s Microsoft acting like Microsoft, so just reboot.”

  4. Edgy Mama

    You LA folks are way ahead of us down here in the South. We just got computerized boarding passes at our airport. I didn’t even know there were computerized ticket vendors at movie theaters.

    So how was the movie?

  5. Richard Mason

    If you think about it, it’s not as if young people are so smart. Young people, to make a sweeping generalization, don’t even know how to change their oil. They don’t know how to fill out a 1040 Schedule C. They can’t fix a faucet or hang a door. They don’t know who their Congressman is. Often they don’t know where their classes are. Their knowledge of classic movie stars is poor, their grasp of twentieth-century history abysmal. They are bad drivers. In short, young people are incompetent ignoramuses because they are seeing things and doing things for the first time.

    The thing about technological advances is that they make old people like young people.

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