At any given time I’m likely to be shooting loaner rifles, and so I keep eight or so scopes on hand to mount on these guns. Some of the scopes have been around for 15 years or more, and I keep using them because they work. The other day, however, I was shooting with one that had been around a long time, and on the other rifle I was using I had a brand-new Meopta MeoStar. When I switched from the rifle with the Meopta to the one with the old scope it was as though I had suddenly developed glaucoma. Everything went dim and muddy.

Often, when this happens, it’s because the lenses have acquired a coating of what looks like dried oxtail soup, topped by a layer of dust. You clean them off and they’re fine. But the lenses on this old scope were clean. What was at work? New scopes are so much better than those from only a decade ago that they make them look…disadvantaged. Optical progress, which used to proceed at a measured and stately course, now moves at the same breakneck speed as everything else.

This is not a disadvantage. One of the results is, I’m now seeing new low-priced scopes that are as good, optically, as the high-priced scopes of the 1990s. And today’s medium- and high-priced scopes are in another league altogether.

The other thing that happened on that fateful day was, my old scope declined to send bullets where they were supposed to go. The windage adjustment was either worn out, or wearing out, and was unable to do what I was telling it.

So I sighed, and retired the old scope, and got a brand-new Meopta Meopro, and everything is now bright and sharp, and the bullets go where they’re supposed to, but it’s sort of sad. The old scope had served honorably.

I have yet to feel an ounce of empathy, however, for any old computer.