For Christmas, the children gave me an iPad. It's slim, cool to the touch and without a case, as slippery as sidewalk ice. The first day, I dropped it at Starbucks. As it clanked twice on the floor, several people looked up from their laptops as if to say, "That can't be good."

Then they returned to their symphony, novel or Facebook posts, hunkered down in the technological blizzard.

I'd like to think the iPad will make me a better, smarter and more efficient person, but if I am to accomplish even one of the three, I might start by not bouncing it on the concrete.

If nothing else, iWanted to be on the Apple team. The Apples were a cool, self-possessed bunch and, when they knew I had become one of them, some of that shine was sure to rub off on me.

The gift required a visit to the Verizon store on the corner of Oak and California. It's best to be cheerful and well-fed prior to this errand. Well-fed because I knew iMight be there for awhile and cheerful for the same reason.

The parking lot was full. A young woman dressed in black met me at the door. She held a clipboard and cooly stared me down. This was like the first chapter of "The Hunger Games," and iFelt I was already on the run.

"What's your name?" she asked.

I exhaled. I knew the answer to that one. As dense as I was, I had earned an A on the Verizon test thus far.

"What are you here for?" she asked.

I told her I had been given an iPad for Christmas and I wanted to get service.

"Did you bring it?" she said.

No, I didn't. I thought we could do this electronically. What if iDescribe it to you? It's slim and slippery. Isn't there a memory cloud where we can find a record of the transaction?

"No," she said. "You have to have the iPad."

I had advanced to Chapter Two of "The Hunger Games." I was now living in a tree, and a bear was marking the territory.

After I drove home, I returned and parked in the far west row. Should there be an accident on Oak Street, and a car was sent spinning in the air, my Honda would offer the first line of defense.

I checked in with the woman at the door and saw that my name was fourth on the TV monitor.

Fifteen minutes later, iHad achieved the No. 1 position and been assigned Perry and Selena. Perry tapped away on his tablet with a stylus. Perry did everything on his tablet. Perry could probably feed his cat on a tablet.

Perry used to work for the late Bill Tanner at Westchester TV. He's cheerful, a wizard on the tablet and a member in good standing of a group I wanted to join.

"What's your password on Gmail?" Selena said.

My password on Gmail?

I can't keep track of all my passwords. I went through an Italian stage ("colnago," "cannoli," "cremona"), pairing them with letters and numbers.

I gave Selena possible passwords and she typed them in. None worked. She looked at me patiently as if to say, "Don't fret, Your people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return."

"We can change your password," she said.

Yes, iWould like that. I'll use my Amazon password. Now, I only have 12 different passwords rather than 13.

"There's your new password," Selena said in a soothing voice, one that she might use on a small child. "You're all set up."

I thanked her and said goodbye. I am part of the team, iThink.