Sometimes I spend too much time thinking. Not thinking of a particular topic or trying to solve some kind of problem, but just moodling. You know, dawdling and frittering away time while letting my mind wander and chew on thoughts in a relaxed way.

I start coming up with the weirdest questions. Like, if you lose a sock in the dryer, does it come back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers?

Does artificial intelligence imply there is such a thing as artificial stupidity?

If old TV shows and movies are considered innocent, does that mean new ones are guilty?

Speaking of that, I try to imagine a time when high-tech was simply a color TV. And parents (like mine) had to start telling us kids to turn it off and go outside and play.

That got me to wondering if nowadays parents worry that their kids are spending too much time on tablets and i-things Instagramming and Snapchatting and TikToking and who knows what else. I was reading an article about a study that found that on average people are spending one-third of their day looking at some sort of screen. Another survey found that half the teenagers said they felt addicted to their mobile devices.

Honestly, though, some of us old guys had our own childhood addictions. Mainly, the boob tube. Ever since we got our first TV when I was somewhere around 5 or 6 I became transfixed by the hypnotic glow of that 19-inch cathode ray tube. I knew all the shows and so did my friends and every day at school would talk about what happened with Paladin or Bret Maverick the night before.

I think I was corrupted for life by those westerns. If not corrupted, then absolutely smitten. Each of the three networks had tons of westerns, from Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing Happy Trails to Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, which opened with him gunning down the same bad guy every week with his quick draw.

There were dozens of westerns, but early on I was partial to Don Deigo’s masked Zorro who every week got the best of Sergeant Garcia with his rapier – and equally rapier wit and The Cisco Kid with Duncan Renaldo as Cisco and Leo Carrillo as Pancho (why do I remember this stuff?), who was always saying, “ohhhh Cisco,” with Cisco responding with “ohhhh, Pancho.”

Walt Disney ran a miniseries celebrating Elfego Baca, which was introduced each time with the song, “…and the legend was that, like el Gato, the cat, nine lives had Elfego El Gato.” The show’s setting, of course, was Socorro but the exteriors were filmed in Cerrillos. Go figure.

The impression these shows made on me is probably because in the 1950s each show seemed to impart some sort of moral lesson, such as respect for the law or respect for your parents. All in a 30-minute teleplay.

At least – even in this day and age – we still have cowboys, even though Willie Nelson warns mothers against letting their young ‘uns grow up to be one.

Things probably haven’t changed that much, because now kids still watch shows, but instead of talking about them the next day, they can tweet each other during the shows they are watching.

I can just imagine when today’s teens grow up and have kids of their own they’ll tell ‘em, “You kids have it easy. Back in my day, I had to walk five miles in the snow just to get a wi-fi signal.”

Here I go again, revealing my years. Every few days I can’t help but stop and ponder on how computers and the internet have changed the way we experience reality. When I stop to think about how remarkable it is, I am also reminded that the people in the so-called Z Generation age group take it as normal and ordinary.

Sometimes it all makes my head spin. But look at me, here I am typing this on a laptop, and just recently have found myself addicted to the online spelling game Wordle. I’m always joking about our growing reliance on digital technology, yet here I am doing what I tease everybody else doing.

On the other hand, there’s enough of a Luddite in me to appreciate doing things in more of a traditional way, and from what I hear there is an emerging “tech backlash” among people who believe advancements in artificially intelligent robots will lead to the replacement of too many jobs.

This is my science-fiction world, I guess, but just give me an old pickup with primer spots and point me in the direction of a dirt road I’ve never been down before.

That’s where I do my best moodling.