Jumping in

Jumping in
Bridge over the Smoky Hill River
“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”
– H.G. Wells
Mr. Wells seems to have held a different life philosophy than my mother who always countered my argument to be allowed to do something “because all my friends were doing it” with “If everybody else jumped off the Smoky Hill River bridge, would you?”

When I was young, these restricted activities that all my friends were allowed to enjoy held great allure, but as I grew older I drifted away from the social mainstream and found myself less attracted to the current social fad or craze. In fact, most of the time I wasn’t even aware of the changing social scene. I told my oldest son the other day that during my youth and early adulthood, I spent more time with horses, cattle, and tractors than I did with humans. It seems I had a sixth sense for understanding the changes affecting critters and tractors; definitely not so with the social aspects of technology.

I first started writing for my high school paper on an Underwood manual typewriter which was pretty much the best technology of the day. In college I wrote for and edited the school paper on an IBM Selectric which was once again the leading edge of technology. After that I allowed the techie world about a thirty-year head start before I started writing again. And, it was once again on an electric typewriter with carbon paper, a pair of scissors, and a roll of Scotch tape.

My kids view their obviously blue-collar dad’s early morning sessions on the typewriter as very quaint, and when my wife informed them I was writing a book, they said, “Yeah, right.”

My sons did eventually convince me that using a computer as a word processor had some advantages over the typewriter. So, twenty-some years and over a dozen published books later I still viewed the computer as just a supercharged word processor.

I guess my ancient ways either embarrass my sons or they feel sorry for me, so once again they’ve convinced me that if I want to participate in the world, I must confront and embrace the digital age and the social trends of the twenty-first century. To embrace it doesn’t necessarily mean I will understand or agree with it, but as Mr. Wells pointed out in A Short History of the World, the alternative to at least trying to adapt is to perish.

Since I’m not quite ready to perish, I’m headed to the Smoky Hill River bridge. Check back here regularly to see if I survive the plunge.

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