When Traditional Brilliance Meets Modern Convenience
Education and Careers Smartphone use can close the generational gap by finding a way to access interests aids in the transition.
Perhaps you don’t recognize the name, but if you’ve turned on a television over the past 25 years you undoubtedly know the work of David Milch.
Writer, creator, producer Milch is the mind behind such Emmy Award winners as “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” and HBO’s critically acclaimed “Deadwood.” Milch has hopped back in the saddle for HBO’s highly anticipated series coming out in January, titled “Luck” (alongside director Michael Mann and star Dustin Hoff man), which chronicles the culture of horse racing.
The winner of two Breeders’ Cup events, Milch is no stranger to the racetrack. By his own admission, Milch, a recovering gambling addict, could undoubtedly navigate the famed Santa Anita Park better than he could a smartphone. If you hadn’t guessed it from the settings of his work (think Deadwood, South Dakota, in the late 1800s), Milch’s subject matter suggests a man who’s nostalgic for a pre-tech savvy era.
"For someone suffering the accumulating indignities of old age, vision and dexterity can be obstacles in the way of technology."
Getting up to speed
Like 62 percent of Americans, Milch was not using a smartphone until his 25-year-old son, Benjamin, began showing him the benefi ts of one.
“At first, my dad [a Buffalo, New York native] wanted to know which Yankee was on the mound that day, so I’d send him updates on the roster, scores, and so forth,” Ben recalls. “Eventually, as he became accustomed to my being able to access real-time information, I found myself using my phone to update him more and more frequently, he knew he could get information fast through me, everything he’d want.” Ben continues, “In these tumultuous times it’s important for him to keep an eye on his stock market portfolio, but even if its just a yankee game or the results in a horse race—for me I’m thankful to be able to continue the conversation with my dad.”
It’s not entirely surprising that Milch, 66, would have reservations about using a smartphone. Given that the fi rst computers weren’t available until he was 30, in 1975, and that New York Times didn’t begin using computerized word processors until 1978—and email didn’t begin until the early 1990s—even the most tech-savvy person can empathize with someone whose craft took several handwritten drafts before sending it to a typewriter for completion. Further, for someone “suffering the accumulating indignities of old age,” as Milch comically describes it, vision and dexterity can be obstacles in the way of technology.
Keeping tabs on the track
Milch, however, would be hardpressed to argue the benefi ts that smartphones’ ability to access information provide. While most people use them for a variety of reasons, whether it be checking in on work emails from the beach to controlling the temperature of your house from your child’s school play, Milch keeps up with the ponies.
Most sports fan request alerts on how many points LeBron James is scoring or who has the most home runs in The National League, but amongst other things, Milch stays current on the condition of the racetrack, horses, and range of minutiae the average person couldn’t grasp.
In some ways, it is therapeutic; precisely the catharsis that keeps Milch away from the track and from betting.