The 21st Century Dad

<B>Steve Hartman</B> Tries To Bridge Generation Gap This Holiday Season

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes Wednesday commentary by correspondent Steve Hartman.
I believe we have a widening generation gap in America – a technology gap that's separating people like me, who live for all the latest gizmos and gadgets, from people like my father, who live in 1952.

It really shouldn't bother me.

But that same stinking lawnmower? The way he sits around his radio every night like FDR is about to come on?

He has never gotten past the phonograph, and he never successfully answered a cell phone.

This is why I decided to go shopping and bring him into the 21st century. I got him a DVD player, Tivo, everything he never wanted – including an iPOD.

My goal was to make his life better, and when that first Beethoven song kicked in, I swore I was making progress. But later, he said the iPOD controls were just too complicated.

Clearly, getting my father to let go of his ways would be way harder than I had imagined.

My second pitch involved a collection of maps he's been saving since AAA was just an A. Surely, he'd want to be rid of those, and go GPS. But even when my dad does catch on to something, he almost instantly complains that it doesn't do more. As a result, Dad would not be throwing out his maps anytime soon.

But still, I had one last idea -- nothing electronic, but still very 21st century.

Dad had never been in a Starbucks. "What a ripoff," he said of the Macchiato he ordered. And he never did tell me exactly how it tasted. But I recognized the face from my mother's cooking.

I told him he didn't have to drink the whole thing, but he said, "I'm not going to throw it away for $3.35."

So, why does it bother me that my dad lives in the past? Well, the only answer I could come up with is that maybe I just don't want to admit he's getting older.

That's why for Christmas this year, I'm going to give him what he really wants -- time together.

And, a map of Wisconsin.