I haven't much cared for the 21st century. My cousin Buck Bouchillon must have known what was coming. He went to be with the Lord just as soon as the new millennium got here. There is too much change to suit me and too much political correctness. Ball games last too long and players are paid too much money -- and that's just in college. Morals are too loose and money is too tight and the technology! Please deliver me from all this technology!
As soon as I learn how to use a cellphone, that phone becomes obsolete and I have to learn how to use a different model. I lived quite well for half a century without even having a cellphone -- and I lived 58 years without succumbing to the need to "text" anyone. See what I mean?
Just as I was getting used to my CD player, my kids told me I had to put all my music on an MP3. I have no idea how to do that!
Don't even get me started on television sets. I thought I was big time when I got a 20-inch RCA XL 100 upon graduation from college. Then I advanced to a 25-inch cabinet model when I got married. That set gave way to a 35-inch model that was heavy as lead and took up the whole corner of the living room. Ten years ago we splurged and bought a steel gray dinosaur that took up half the living room before finally going to a flat-screen LED that sits on a table and is about as thin as a slice of bread. My kids can play Internet games on the TV. I can't even change the channel.
See what I mean? I don't like the 21st century. It is way too complicated.
And yet, even as I type these words -- is it still typing if you do it on a word processor? -- I am being dragged kicking and screaming into the century I love to hate. I am publishing my books on something called Kindle.
When I was a small boy, the great Methodist bishop Arthur Moore preached at Salem Camp Meeting. The folks at Salem were very proud of themselves for having installed a public address system that year. When they tried to show Bishop Moore how to use it, he swelled up and vowed, "The day that I have to use one of those contraptions to be heard under this tabernacle is the day I'll stop preaching!"
I am quite certain that even Bishop Moore finally preached using electronic amplification.
I said the same thing about electronic books. I love books. I always have. I have thousands of them around the house -- and I'm not talking about my own books that I can't sell, either. I love the way a book feels in my hand. I love to turn the pages and I love the musty aroma that arises from vintage books when I choose to revisit them, as I would stop by to call on an old friend. I don't let anyone dog-ear my books and heaven forbid you would write in one or lay it down on its open face.
Books are very special to me. I taught all my children to love books and we are a family of voracious readers. We pack lots of books when we go on vacation and during the winter, back when all the kids were home, all five of us could be found lounging by the fire on cold winter's nights, reading whatever it was we each were reading.
A couple of years ago, my kids and my lovely wife, Lisa, all but abandoned real books and started reading from something called a Kindle. I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit. For one thing, the machines they used were a lot like my television. I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing on, much less find the title and page number I was looking for. In fact, the dratted thing didn't even have page numbers.
But they loved the contraptions and began urging me to put my books on Kindle. None of their reasons made sense to me. Over the past few months I have been besieged by publishers wanting to create e-books out of my work and readers wondering why I wouldn't join the new century. I was determined not to. And then last week I learned that Mrs. Frances Henderson, of Henderson's catfish fame, had begun taking credit cards -- after getting by 60 years taking only cash and checks. I said to myself, "If Mrs. Henderson can take plastic money, I can allow people to download my books from thin air."
So "Need Two," the funniest book ever written, according to Barbara Dooley -- a novel about two kids on a road trip to watch Georgia play Notre Dame in the 1980 Sugar Bowl -- can be read online. The other 10 will be available by Christmas and I -- well, I guess I'm just a monkey's uncle, because that's what I said I'd be before I'd publish online books.
Oh, well. That's progress. They tell me they even play night baseball at Wrigley Field these days.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.