Old and Loving It
Last week, at age twenty-three and one fourth, I found myself at the precipice of a mid-life crisis. A half hour of basketball left me incapacitated for a week and jogging without stretching was a guaranteed pulled hamstring. Even the physically unexacting task of talking pop culture with youths left me listless and depressed (what’s a Dougie?). I felt old. Desperate, I frantically searched for my own version of The Fountain of Youth.
A new car was a possibility. It was the first thing that characters in movies did to distract themselves from the aging process. In order to truly aid me in remaining youthful the car had to be outlandishly flashy. I felt really old though. The only car that was flashy enough to aid in my fight against time was the McLaren F1 (of course replete with suicide doors, spinners and an “ice cream paint job). With a price tag of 970,000 dollars, I would be lucky to pay for this car’s tires by the time I hit thirty. Not a chance.
Purchasing something flashy and somewhat expensive was the answer though. I was sure of it. Soon, I found an apparently perfect tool through which I could be revivified. Everywhere I turned people, especially youngsters, were reading e-books instead of conventional books. Who could blame them? They were much lighter and more convenient than carrying multiple conventional books. They could be read on mediums that doubled as gaming consoles and music players. They even looked cooler than books. With Borders’ recent bankruptcy and the plethora of amenities that e-books offered it was clear that e-books were the wave of the future. If there were a key to youth’s door, surely this was it.
Soon I found that e-books were not as amazing as I thought they were. E-book ownership stressed me out far more than it rejuvenated me. For starters, conventional books do not crack. Unfortunately, the screens of iPads and Kindles do. A critical reader will note that book pages rip. This is true, but when the pages of a book rip, only one book is left unusable, when the screen on an iPad cracks one’s entire library is unreadable outside of the comfort of their home. Any lapse in judgment in handling your e-book medium and you could be left bookless and footing the bill for new e-book medium screen. This is enough turn anyone’s hair grey.
Maintaining a charge for my e-book medium was also a huge problem. Picture this. You are on three hour flight. You have to finish reading a book by the time you land for some assignment. You get right to the point of the e-book that contains the information necessary to complete your assignment and then everything goes dark. That is probably about as stressful as it gets. Trust me, I know from experience.
In my quest to find youth, I learned instead that e-books provide an opportunity for everything that can go wrong with reading to go wrong. From fragility to maintenance, e-books and their mediums required far too much effort. If confronted with the same choice between feeling/seeming old and becoming hip I certainly would never think about becoming hip through usage of an e-book again.