Some blog posts are born when two entirely different things trigger the same part of my brain within a short span of time: a connection between ideas that don't obviously belong together.
Yesterday, Karen and I saw the movie "The Help," based on a book she read and I didn't. Good film, I recommend it. It's about a community of black maids and the largely useless (but occassionally decent) white twits they serve, set in Mississippi during the Civil Rights days. Real-world milestones noted in the film include the deaths of Medgar Evers and JFK. When the movie was over and Karen and I were walking out to our car, we looked at each other with the same thought: "I can't believe we were alive when that happened." The further time carries us forward, the more the view behind becomes an unrecognizably alien landscape.
With that thought still rattling uneasily around my brain, this morning my pal Mike Lynch posted a video that lit up the same neurons: a tutorial on How To Dial a Rotary Telephone. Granted, it was made to teach those at the beginning of the dial phone era, which was before my time, but it'd be just as helpful if someone like, oh, let's say my kids, were faced with one of the ancient contraptions.
Yeah, it's a familiar lament. I don't think my 23-year-old girls have ever used a record player either, even though we've always had one in the living room (it was the first thing Karen and I bought together, now hidden inside the cabinet of an antique hand-cranked phonograph, an irony I always appreciated).
No message besides the obvious. I try to watch the parade of time and my cyclic obsolesence with easy-going bemusement, because the alternative hurts. "Now children, gather round and I'll tell you what it was like growing up watching black-and-white TV with three channels!" Ooh! Better record my stories and put them in the Smithsonian now, while I can still remember them. "Here now, son, let me show you how to operate that Walkman before you hurt yourself." Thanks, old man!
"See this dusty thing here, with all these sheets of paper stuck in it? It's called a book."