Friday, July 26, 2013

What's Between Me and You

You know what? Something surprising happened, our internet service and our television service all got blown out by an electrical storm on Saturday.  On Tuesday, yes three days later, Kelly (names changed to protect the innocent, or are they?), friendly capable Kelly, you know, from the local phone company, got everything back in working order. Apparently, it broke a card of some sort - maybe a “NIC card” - and he had to add a Netgear thingee to make the computer work without the missing cardy thingee (is it like a playing card, what?), get this, over the airwaves.

I'll be honest here, computer stuff makes me cry, I don't get it and, since I recently learned that rage is anger at an unresolvable situation, it enrages me. I cuss, I weep, I scream because I don't get it. I can rebuild a carburetor from a '67 Volkswagen Beetle; I can line up a few words and make a sentence work; I can make a very good hamburger; I can grow pretty good kids; but I can't begin to understand how all of this works.

I understand, basically, how paper is made. I understand how a graphite pencil leaves a semi-permanent mark on that paper. I pretty much understand how a fountain pen works, the mechanics of a ball-point seems pretty graspable and even the gel pens I favor seem basic, aside from the ink chemistry, enough to understand. Crayons, got that; markers, cool; colored pencils, easy. I even understand type-setting and letterset-printing, lithography.  I've held a font in my hands, they smell of machine oil and guns.   I can honestly say I understand how photography works. Well, used to work ...

This ain't that simple. I don't, at a purely basic level, understand how the letters and words and sentences and hopes and dreams get from my fingertips here, to the screen, well, here. Beyond that, how, in God's good name, does it get from me to you? I mean, what we are doing collectively, although not simultaneously, here as I write and you read is beyond my comprehension. 

Consider this booklet the boys made with just a little help from me (if you click on the first one you should be able to then scroll through the whole book like, well, a book):

It's pretty cool.  But, there is more to the story, in this case, the story before the story.  The one where we were out, the boys and I, walking our rental dog - the dog we take care of for some friends when they are out of town - Snickers (names changed to protect the innocent, or are they?), when we got to talking about life and nature and I asked them what they thought were some of the most important things we need for life.  Honestly, I was sorta thinking sciencey stuff, I had a clever speech prepared involving Ancient Greeks and the periodical table but, the very first thing out of Nick's mouth was God.  Zack followed immediately with LoveFood and Water followed in the same order.

Nick has a matter-of-fact way of saying things - it's a little patronizing, but, I'm just gonna let his friends tell him that later - so he said, matter-of-factly: "That's about everything."

And then they continued their conversation about wizards, mosquitoes and, as I recall, squid, and walked on down the road.

I chuckled a little at myself and thought about my wasted, petty speech, realizing, how succinctly and poignantly they had summed up the whole metaphysical conversation.  Boys, I thought to myself.

They continued down to the stop sign, where we turn around, the dog pooped, I cleaned it up and, a few steps later Nick said:  "Dad we should make a little book about those four important things we need to live."

Yes, Nick, yes we should.

And, we did.

I folded the papers for them, explaining the 'folio' process and how a book is actually made.  They both chose the words they spurted out on the walk, and, they decided we should make the title page on the computer.

And we finished it and we held it in our hands and Mom read it and now, now...

Now you have it, on a computer screen, wherever and whenever you are.

And, I don't know how that happened or how it is even possible.

I may not know how this is possible, but, I know a little about  why it's possible? Why we have enabled this function? What led us to this impossible plateau of electronic sophistication? 

I needed to share this with you.

Thanks everyone who understands this stuff and lets me monopolize this magical digital mystery tour to bring you the essential nonsense I post around here.

And thanks to you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"I am good and full of secrets."

So am I little buddy, so am I ...


  1. You have some pretty cool kids, Bill! :)

    Would be interested to pick your brain sometime on how spirituality is part of your lives and how you've passed that on to your boys...

    1. Thanks, DD. We made spirituality an early priority around here and it seems to be paying off. Who knew?

  2. This is so brilliant. My reaction to the kids' book: "Oh, they're so cute. They're learning to express themselves." From what I take to be my privileged-because-I'm-older position, without condescension, just joy in knowing that their ideas are growing up, taking shape, making more and more sense.

    Then I realize: I am that child, in the eyes of a god. I am that child.