Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Great Leap of Faith

I heard the recommendations, I assembled and checked and ran through a quick, focused pros/cons list in my head, I reviewed the benefits and pensively stacked the inevitable fallout. With the depth and seriousness of a man buying his first family sedan after the birth of his first child, I blindly, boldly trudged ahead and installed the Firefox browser hoping I wasn't making a huge mistake in eschewing IE.

At this age, my father was buying a car that was to protect his wife and his children on the highway of life, not of information. His mission was to guard his family against vehicles large and small, from predators near and far, and from on-road calamities that might never be.

Me, I was worried about some Russian kid exploring a backdoor that could lead to someone getting e-mail passwords and 5,000 e-mail addresses I've amassed since 1983.

And just as my father, at this age, was hesitant in dismissing the old Cadillac in favor of a teutonic beast from Bavaria, I somewhat willingly installed the new browser (as the default) but kept the old beast and links thereto.

Just as the differences between his two choices of travel were -- in one day -- exposed and dichtomized, so too were mine: each did its job with relative grace, though one was a nefarious, ravenous glutton for system memory and resources, whereas the other was less so. But the subtle differences were plainly in view. Lines, layouts and options and settings were suddenly new, different, and less lived-in. A collection of bookmarks, some I've known as friends for over a decade, made the jump with far less difficulty and far more aplomb than had I.

If anyone asks, I'm supportive of and in my new choice. I'm not entirely convinced, just as I'm sure the absence of 14 cup-holders in that shiny metallic blue invader might have worn on his decision way back when. But the hesitance, and the pondering, didn't subside until very recently.

And every time I revisit this contrast I wonder which of my predecessors debated, tossed and turned and qualified his decision to be the first to own an automobile after many before him relied on natural and not man-made horsepower.

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