There I was, a bit of a cold obfuscating the neural pathways between my ears and what passes for my brain, and my guitar simply wasn't coming into tune.
I grumbled something about not being able to find my darned pitch pipes-
And then The Kid pipes up: "Here, try this," he says, handing me his cellphone.
First of all, calling his handheld live-link with the universe a "cellphone" is like calling my computer a "chalk and slate."
Indeed, his cellphone has more bells and whistles than a bell-and-whistle factory.
I shouldn't have been surprised that it was also a surrogate pitch pipe.
Or at least, it could be converted into a pitch pipe- through an "app."
By now, the kids are rolling their eyes at this goofy old editor who is penning his amazement at the amazing turns that technology has taken lately. There is no way that they can understand how astounding it is for a guy like me to tune his guitar to a cellphone.
Remember? I was having trouble tuning my guitar in the first place because my ears were a bit blocked. Using the cellphone, I was able to watch each string come into perfect tune as coloured bars on the phone's visual display closed in on each other while I cranked the guitar's actions.
Okay, folks. That blew me away. I can feel those eyes rolling again- cut it out! I come from a world in which there was only one telephone, mounted on the kitchen wall of one house, near the end of the gravel road I lived on.
It was available to the entire neighbourhood, due solely to the remarkable generosity and downright neighbourliness of its owner - although no one would think to impose upon that neighbourly generosity for anything other than dire emergency, job search, or overseas calls from dying relatives.
You could talk on that telephone.
And you could listen. That's it.
Talk- and listen. And that was already pretty darned amazing, just because the talking and listening were going on between people who could be literally thousands of miles from each other.
How cool was that!
Now, scarcely half a lifetime down the road (I intend to live to be at least 110 plus change) I had in my hands a telephone - not even connected to a long, thin wire, let alone mounted on a kitchen wall - that helped me to tune my guitar. By sight!
A short time later, guitar back leaning against the wall, I was tooling about with some minor renovations, when I realized I needed a carpenter's level from out in the garage-
And out came that cell phone again. "You need a level?" The Kid asked. "There's an app for that."
His tone was matter of fact; he wasn't being facetious or anything.
His thumbs went crazy for a few seconds, an array of options appeared on the cellphone's screen, he made a selection, and he handed me the phone- or should I say, he handed me the level.
I believe it was classic science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark who popularized the notion that, if humanity were to encounter a sufficiently advanced alien civilization, we would not be able to distinguish its technology from magic.
I'm thinking that, if my father had been handed The Kid's cellphone/pitch pipe/level when he was growing up during the First World War, he might have believed in magic.