Originally Published: July 2, 2002 6:15 p.m.
Faithful readers understand my passion for books. I have loved them since I was a small lad.
I used to have similar feelings about certain magazines.
Time and Newsweek for instance.
They have passed me by. The increasingly bulky technology and lifestyle sections use language I find incomprehensible. The assumption is that I understand what they are talking about. I do not. Nor do I wish to.
"Too bad," you may reply. "It's your choice to keep up or not." Yes, I know.
"It's a new age, Ron." No question about it. The Information Age is a fateful reality. And it is not that I did not know it was coming. I did. I read the signs 30 years ago. Even wrote about it. As a matter of fact, I welcomed it.
Information, knowledge, technology – wheeee!
The heck of it is, I intended to stay current. I was in my early 40s, on top of life, feeling good about the awesome anticipated changes and prepared (I thought) to not simply manage all the stuff that experts said was going to be coming my way but to thrive on the multiplicity of challenges I would face.
So much for that fantasy.
I guess I did not foresee some of the consequences of aging. I slowed down just when the world began a fast acceleration past me. Nor did I comprehend that I might not be able to keep up with the new terms, descriptions, and alphabet-soup mix of technical jargon. Fresh theories and ideas rolled off young tongues and my old ears became angry barriers.
Somewhere in there, I lost it. At some point I must have consciously, decided that "I can't keep up." I recognized that I had fallen behind and was heading further south every day.
So, here I sit today, nursing a new perspective.
I call it my Charlie Brown mantra.
It's based on an old Peanuts cartoon sequence.
In this strip, Charlie Brown has left his familiar and comfortable pitching mound (at the suggestion or urging of his teammates, as I recall) to take up a new position in left field. The farther he goes into the field, the higher the grass gets until he is completely surrounded by grass taller than he. In the final, cartoon block, Charlie Brown says, "I just hope I'm facing in the right direction."
I cannot help but identify with Charlie.
Tell me you understand!
(Ron Barnes is a longtime Prescott resident and a semi-retired educator and businessman.)