If you're over 50, you'll come to this technology crosswalk sooner or later. Probably sooner.

It's that point in your life when you either embrace the latest technology or let the rest of the world pass you by.

Truth is, the Baby Boom Generation is standing at that corner right now, waiting for the light to change.

It's easy for us to say we've been there, done that. But the world is changing so rapidly that where you've been and what you've done doesn't matter as much anymore.

So, the choice is yours. Either you accept new things or you dig in your heels and grind to a halt.

But considering the economy and how much longer you might have to work, you may want to consider taking a giant step and crossing to the other side of the street.

Which is why I got a BlackBerry.

Thumb-sucking zombie

My new cell phone could likely dock the space shuttle if I just knew how to make the red light stop flashing.

The BlackBerry — part phone, computer, camera, geo-map, e-mailer, texter, alarm clock, tape recorder and nanny — is an amazing piece of electronic equipment that replaces things like, you know, secretaries, wives and other things you once depended on to run your life.

Granted, this little blinking, buzzing thing I now carry in my pocket can be an all-consuming obsession, if you let it.

It has been dubbed the CrackBerry because it's so addictive. But I'm determined not to let it dominate my existence. I would prefer that it enhance my career and personal life rather than turn me into a thumb-sucking zombie.

Experienced BlackBerry users snuffle a laugh when I say things like that. They see it as an instrument of death, the devil's tool, a replacement part for the brain they used to have.

But it doesn't have to be that way? Does it?

Drug dealers

Barely a week into the world of BlackBerry I've learned to do 10 things: Make and receive calls, send and receive e-mail and text messages, record interviews, zoom around the world map, maintain my calendar, keep addresses and phone numbers, take videos and pictures of my grandchildren, Google stuff on the Internet, and not to do any of these things while I'm driving.

I know this machine will do thousands of functions I haven't even imagined yet. And I suppose I could read the directions, but where's the fun in that?

Instead, I have my own form of BlackBerry kindergarten whereby I hang around other people with BlackBerries and ask them to teach me one new thing every day.

So far, it's working.

People are nice about sharing information. It's kind of like drug dealers giving away free samples in order to get you hooked on an expensive habit.

My main goal, however, is not to become one of those people. You know who I'm talking about. The ones who walk across the street during rush-hour traffic, thumbing their BlackBerry, never seeing the city bus that is about to disconnect their call, forever.

Reach Ken Burger at kburger@postandcourier.com or 937-5598. To read previous columns, go to postandcourier.com/burger.