“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background, is that we all believe we are above-average drivers.”
Lost it on the Internet
No, I didn’t lose my cool.
Blogging on the internet is a bit of an illusion. My imagination is that someone will come along and read my stuff. And, perhaps, years from now someone might come along and read my stuff. It is out there. But, the odds are spectacular that it will happen.
If I write a post that I think is strong, then I should print it on paper. I should make a collection of these writings and bind them. The chances that someone in my family would be interested because it came from me are better and perhaps it might influence or inform them. Maybe my nephew will want to know about me when he is old enough to wonder; years from now when I’m long gone.
This digital world is a trap, I think. No one will ever find my love letters in a box in the attic, they are all electronic. My photos are on sites like Facebook or a site that stores them via subscription; easily gone. I do have some snaps from my youth in a box, they are terrific to look through.
When my Dad retired from teaching, all of his office stuff got moved to a shed in his backyard. When visiting, my Mom would encourage me to help Dad clean it up. But Dad really wanted to reminisce and tell stories about the files. What struck me was that he printed and kept everything that he did; including a comedic inter-office memo. The goofy stuff was the best stuff.
When my Dad got deep into his retirement, he really wanted to tell his story of travelling around the world. He worked at it. Playing soccer in Iran or working on a tanker or jumping ship in Singapore, it was a story loaded with great stuff. It was posted on his website and that site is gone. Tragic, really.
My Mom used to make these legacy notebooks. One might be all about me, stuff that she’d saved over the many years. Another might be a custom recipe book culled from my aunts and grannies. Hard copy, as they say and good stuff.
The times are rare when I look through my old stuff but they are good times. Reading through digital copies of my writing from way back is less, still ensnarled in the digital experience and loaded with distraction and the urgency to move on.
Does anyone sit back and reflect when reading an online article? Or do they move on to the next.
The conceit of my Dad was that if he put the effort into doing something, then it was worth saving. My attitude is more of a throw it out there and let it fly, especially when it comes to this internet. The hours of effort gone into writing things or photoshopping images or using my camera on friends are all lost on past web sites, now gone. My snappy “ten stagehand fails” or “twenty very strange things that I saw in an art college” are long gone, deleted as we move on to the next digital platform.
There is something important about that box of love letters and photos. I have one and so do you, I’ll bet. We used to really write letters to each other and the effort alone was worth saving. Then, thirty years later you look and are amazed at it all. But that progression through my life stopped in that box with broad band.
I’m struck by the movie image of the old lady sitting with her grandchild, looking through an old scrapbook. The classic is when she was a ballerina and there are programs and ribbons and photos and newspaper clippings. They are sitting on a couch together. I can’t see it the same crowded around a monitor.
So, all I’m saying is: if you are making stuff then print it. Print those photos, print those top ten lists, print those love letters; otherwise, they’ll all be lost into the void of the internet. Put it in a file or make a legacy notebook.
Your effort is worth saving, learn the lesson from my Dad.