I had my laptop out and the television on.

It was 10 minutes before the Oscars started Sunday night, and I was ready to entertain millions of people -- OK, dozens ... maybe just my mom -- on Facebook and Twitter with my witty insights on those wacky Hollywood folks at the Academy Awards.

I got up to get a snack, came back to the family room and found the television off. But it wasn't off. The little green light was still on. It was just empty.

Figuring it was a quick glitch, I turned it off and on a couple of times. I went to post something on my Twitter account. However, that was gone as well.

That's right. I suddenly was pop culturally blind as a bat on perhaps the year's biggest night in pop culture.

(Wes Bausmith/MCT)

No magic button

This had happened with my Internet service a few days earlier, requiring three or four attempts at unplugging the modem until it came back. So I tried that again ... and again ... and again. It's called "rebooting," I think, and it now applies to all forms of technology and, well, life. For example, when we burned the turkey on Thanksgiving, we just turned the oven off, then back on -- voila, a perfectly cooked bird emerged.

It was after my fifth reboot on Sunday that my neighbors probably started hearing the cursing.

I called my service provider, whose name I won't mention (Comcast). I spent the next 40 minutes on the phone with a pleasant young man I suspected might be in another country, who had me recite all sorts of numbers and things while he tried to fix the problem remotely.

Finally, he promised to send someone out to solve the problem as soon as possible. On Tuesday.

I paused, trying to remember if the Oscars would still be on Tuesday morning, sometime between 8 and noon.

Probably not.

This wasn't good. It felt weird -- almost claustrophobic. It wasn't just the Oscars I was missing. For the next 36 hours or so, while at home, I wouldn't be able to tell what was happening in the world (I don't trust my cellphone -- it's slow, and I don't like the way it looks at me).

I'm hooked

What was worse was realizing what a slave to technology I've become. To add insult to injury: I don't understand technology at all, which makes me feel even dumber for needing it so badly. It's like being the colonized native who lives among advanced settlers but doesn't understand how their big, shiny machines work.

I know I'm not the only one. At least I'm old enough to be familiar with the concept of living without the Internet and having only 13 channels on TV. My kids -- whom I frequently throw outside on weekends when their eyes glaze over in front of their iDoodles, or whatever they're called -- might need some sort of rehab if technology ever goes away for more than a few hours. It's hard to imagine what it will be like for future generations. For some of us, there is no getting away from the techno trap. Here's an idea: When the high-tech world decides to be uncooperative, call the cavalry, hunker down and read a book (a real one, with paper pages). Or go buy a newspaper (this one, to help keep me employed). That's how I learned about what happened at this year's Academy Awards. They may not be as flashy or fast, but at least newspapers don't disappear in your hands while you're still reading them.

Contact Tony Hicks on Facebook at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.