Archive for May 24th, 2007

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Cultural Progeria

May 24, 2007

I think I may have caught Old Man Grumpus (2nd from the top) disease at some point.  More & more I don’t like what’s on TV or new music or movies.  Which is a bummer, because I feel like when you stop liking new stuff, you start dying a little. 

However, the real sign, to me, of the inevitable impending end isn’t just cultural, it’s technological.  When a new technology comes by, and spreads quickly, and soon everyone’s using it except for a few crazy holdouts, like people still refusing to use the telephone in the 1930s, that’s a sign that the end is near. 

And the thing is, I’m really good with techie, gadgety crap. I’m not particularly old (35), I live in a big city, albeit not big enough to get Fiber Optic Internet Service like the folks in Cooterville, but still, a big city, and I read about new stuff all the time.  I was one of the dorks to pre-order a TiVo when they first launched, six months ahead of the on sale date.  I was the first person I knew to subscribe to high speed internet access, to buy an MP3 player, to use Bittorrent, to get a streaming media server, the list goes on. 

But I know that out there somewhere, there’s a guy (or girl), and they’re like two years old right now, and someday, maybe thirty years from now, they’re going to invent a thing.  That thing, whatever it is, everyone is going to want one, one day.  People won’t be able to live without it.  In my mind, I envision this new sweeping invention (akin to cell phones, or televisions, or VCRs, or DVRs – soon) as looking like a black, inscrutable small box, like a matchbook sized version of the monolith from 2001.

And I won’t have one.  I won’t really even understand the appeal of having one.  A little part of me won’t even understand how you use one.  I will be vaguely annoyed when I see other people using theirs.   I will bore people around me telling them how I don’t believe in “the box” and how I don’t need one because my ancient pre-box technology suits me just fine.  I’ve been worried about this invention for over a decade now. I wonder if I’ll know the day it gets invented, like, will I cosmically feel its coming into being. 

To be clear, there’s lots of stuff I don’t need, right now.  Like texting on my cellphone.  I know everyone does it, but it’s a pain, and I’m not 13, so I don’t bother.  But I understand what it is and why you’d do it.  This thing, “the box,” I don’t even know what it’s for.  I just know that in the future the goddamn kids on my lawn won’t stop playing with theirs.

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links for 2007-05-24

May 24, 2007