That was the line from a cunchgear post that got me to immediately open up a new tab in my browser window and begin writing this post. In the preceding lines the writer from crunch gear mulls over the possibility that our kids, his in particular, and by extension my own, will have a similar fondness, or any discernible level of fondness at all for books. The objects themselves, not necessarily the content.
I would say that the object that is a book is quite possibly one of my most very favorite things that I own or have encountered in life. I don’t expect this to change anytime soon, thought I expect that there will be plenty more that will gain my instant and complete attention. New gadgets, technologies, digital this and that all over the place. But then I will return to the unassuming and silent friend that has never piped up and annoyingly asked me when I will give him the time he deserves. When I crack open the pages he would likely just smile and settle in as if I had never left, or perhaps only stepped out for lunch.
I think what attracts me to books is in the same line of experiences that attracts me to mankind in the most general sense. What makes me feel empathy for someone suffering, what makes me long for a full day of working outside and retiring exhausted and dirty, what makes want to play my guitar even thought I play if far less often that I aught to, what makes sitting outside around a fire with the few of your very best friends and family often saying nothing and absorbing the smell of freshly cut grass, spent fireworks, mid summer, or late autumn.
It’s the real corporal experience. That elusive other that makes you glad your human and that you can experience it so deep and richly in that moment. I am often an early adopter of new gadgets, new web technology, new digital what-evers. I am the one who is permanently tethered to the future and at times it feels like the only thing that can satiate is to go father and farther into the digital beyond. But then I am reminded that all it takes is to return to an old unassuming friend.
This morning I woke up and my wife was ironing clothes in the living room. So I did what every good husband who loves his wife does; I rolled over, grabbed my cell phone and proceeded to text her “I love you!!”. As soon as I did this, I thought of a tweet a old friend of mine sent out yesterday that read
and instantly I yelled out to her “I LOVE YOU” and went in the living room and gave her a kiss. Don’t get me wrong, texting is great and it keeps me in touch with friends and family that I would otherwise not contact much. But if you can go over to someone and say it to their face, do it. Shake their hand, give them a kiss, slap them, whatever.
Books keep me corporeal, they keep me using my body, they keep me real and honest. No copy and paste. Delete. Backup. Reboot.
I hope my kids care as much about books as I do, even if books take a different form. I hope that they can have a constant reminder that we are human and to experience that in all its many varied ways is a beautiful thing.
(I realize the irony in the fact that this homage to books is in blog form, and if before reading this sentence you did also, you probably were able to do so because you read books. Bravo to you. Now go back to your destroyed tree and soak it up, paper-cuts and all.)
(edit: I was about to go back and re-read this post to correct any errors in composition, grammar, etc. but I decided to simply let my humanity show, so if there are errors, great. Thats just proof I’m human. If not, then I may in fact be a robot.)