Subject: The Horror of Modern Times
After our discussion, I ran into this (Is Google Making us Stupid?). I like doing crossword puzzles, and for some time now I refuse to look up something until I know there is no chance I'll remember, or know, the answer, and I'm a stubborn old bastard. [That’s true.] I always enjoy the moment when things click into place and I have the answer, even if it had to churn away for a while. What's the pleasure you get in an instant search? (I ask rhetorically.) And, so, thanks for Saturday, but my realization on the true and absolute diagnosis of your mom was a blow. I really didn't know, and perhaps I was in denial.
I'm up for a lunch later this week if you'd care to indulge. If Friday is still a good day, then fine, but feel free to adjust the time, or for any day, as it happens.
JanI responded thus:
About the "Horror of Modern Times"
I’ve often marveled at ancient writers, somehow managing to write wonderful, complete sentences, conveying elegant thoughts, as they wield that fuckin' hammer and chisel. I ask myself, could I do that? Don’t think so. I’d have to go through several drafts, and I’d run out of rocks and wear out my tools before I said anything. My back would go out and that would be that for a while.
I figure it’s always like that. You’re limited by your tools, and people rise to the occasion of those limitations. I remember how my shitty Bic pens would just stop working and I’d have to go on a search for a new shitty Bic pen. I recall needing a shiny new pad of paper to do any writing. I couldn’t bear to just write on odds and ends and scraps. I even went through a fountain pen period. That was messy.
Reading’s that way too. You adjust to your tools. For instance, I tend to use my eyeballs, but I find that they’re not what they used to be, and I keep having to try different pairs of glasses, some of which are broken; some have become monocles or worse. And I can’t really read in the dark, unless I’m reading off of my laptop, which beams at me like a tiny drive-in movie. Darkness is better, laptopwise.
I have come to feel that I can no longer keep up with all the changes in tools and shit. I don’t know what people are doing on their iPhones, and I fear that I couldn’t do it even if I tried. I try to “read” Facebook, but it still feels like opening up the minutes for some weird-ass club of underwater basketweavers. I feel alien and left behind. I feel that way pretty much all day long, especially among my students, who seem to wonder how a guy like me is even possible.
So I’ve pretty much decided to let it go and just live in my own little world, chiseling away like I do. Boy does my back hurt.
RoyP.S.: Of course Google is making us stupid. Everything is making us stupid. We will be remembered as the Age of Stupid.