I’ve been a skeptic of the technological advances our society has seen over the last decade or two. I grew up in the ’90s and went to high school in the first years of the 21st century. I remember the advent of the internet, the revolution of personal cell phones. And I have just enough of my parents’ generation’s old fashioned pragmatism to look doubtfully upon most of the supposedly useful or — even worse — the supposedly “necessary” technological tools we’ve all gotten used to.
There’s certainly a difference between convenience and necessity. I don’t care how easy it is to use the Maps app on my iPhone; I still carry a Maine Gazetteer in my Jeep — because while my GPS can mistakenly send me down the wrong road, a printed map cannot. But indeed, the most prized word in our society these days sadly seems to be convenience. We can send our grocery lists to Hannaford ahead of time and have our produce all bagged and ready to pick up an hour later. If we hear a song we like on the radio, we can Shazam it and with only one more click, purchase it on iTunes. Technology makes it all too convenient to spend our money.
However, There is one recent technological convenience that I discovered last night which I think just may redeem all the other silly stuff out there. I spent a tantalizing Friday night doing my taxes. I’ve been using TurboTax for, I don’t know, maybe eight years. Some years I’ve used H&R Block; other years, a local tax guy. But overall, TurboTax has never failed me. I’ve always thought it was very user-intuitive. And while it’s cutesy little greetings and snippets of small talk can be annoying — “You don’t like doing your taxes? That’s good, because we do!” — it can also be sort of endearing.
And let me just say — Wow. Last night, about seven minutes into my 2015 TurboTax session, the world exploded into rainbow confetti. Because, get this: TurboTax has added a brand new feature this year that lets you snap a photograph of your W2, and it automatically uploads your information and puts it where it is needed! Mind officially blown. I don’t know who is responsible for making this happen or how many years of painful schooling they had to endure to learn how to do it, but I’d like to shake their hands and maybe even buy them a pony or an ice cream cone, if they wanted one or the other. Because how utterly amazing is that? What kind of crazy convenient world do we live in these days? I’m tickled, astonished and also a little terrified of it. But by God, my taxes are done, and for that, I’m willing to forgive my geographically challenged GPS.