Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of technology from way back. Electricity is extremely handy. Owning a phone does cut back on all that shouting out of windows. I might even get call waiting one of these days. And hey, who doesn’t like a clock radio? But there are one or two issues I’d like to address.
It’s about the books. Or the end of them, I mean. It seems inevitable, does it not? One day we will e-book ourselves into oblivion and then bam, no more pages filled with type, no well-worn leather bound tombs, no dewey decimal system. In the blink of an eye, poof, it’s all gone.
Let’s face it, most of us have seen at least one of the Planet of the Apes movies, so I think we all know our undoing from violence and technology is inevitable. The apes evolve, yadda yadda, next thing you know we’re celebrating National Bonobo day and spending a lot of time playing the accordion.
Perhaps you’re the zombie apocalypse type? A massive virus spreads throughout the land, all functions of society come to a screeching halt, yadda yadda, we spend the next fifty years dodging fleshing eating hoards hell bent on turning us into chew toys.
Well, perhaps we’re not all on board with the zombie panic.
But I’m sure one thing we can agree upon are those alien overlords waiting to make their move. And it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. We can’t even manage the most basic democratic process. The ineptitude of the US congress has become a weekly ritual, and it’s starting to feel like at least once a month some politician is waving his family jewels around like a rebel flag. And don’t get me started about the damaged ozone layer or whatever the hell it is we did to the bees. You just know one of these nights the aliens are bound to get hammered and say, “Look at how these idiots conduct themselves? What the zagblats are we waiting for? Let’s just take ’em over now. The humans probably won’t even notice for another decade, they’re far too busy watching Snooki get a spray tan.”
Then of course, in the blink of a zagblat, they take away our technology, Soylent Green is people, yadda yadda, all the women in town give birth to twins with glowing eyes.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make, about the books.
Shouldn’t we, you know, have a few copies handy? Maybe bury them in undisclosed caverns deep in the bowels of the four corners of the earth? (Yeah, the earth is round, sure. How gullible do you think I am? I’m not one of those fools that buys into the whole zombie apocalypse thing. Puh-lease.)
Only thing is we have to pick people we trust to bury and monitor the copies of the books. See, despite certain politician’s best efforts to make intelligence as unpopular as rainbow suspenders and parachute pants, I believe in the near future actual books will become a prized commodity rivaling gold. And if the only way I’m going to be able to purchase a bar of my favorite dark chocolate is by handing over a page from Horton Hears A Who! I would like some actual trusted servants to look after these precious gems.
I’ve been trying to come up with a list of candidates. This is what I have so far:
The Dalai Lama – Of course he’s holy, and the spiritual leader of Tibet, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. He also has honorary citizenship in a number of countries, which might come in handy if the books need to travel. But my main reason for suggesting His Holiness is I doubt book hungry lobbyists could sway him. Not the horror lobby, or the pop up book lobby, or those whiners, the gardening lobby. I bet the concierge wouldn’t sway him, either, and you know how persuasive they can be. Especially if you’re new in town and forgot to eat on the plane.
Neil Gaiman – Incredible author of all things urban fantasy, and he’s won all those awards. Not to mention this quote of his sewn into the carpet at a library in Australia.
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.”
You gotta love a man who loves librarians.
These are excellent indications he’d make a fine gatekeeper. However there’s an even better reason to nominate him. Given his unique and prolific creativity, I’m pretty sure Gaiman is not entirely human. (I’d guess a ratio of 82% earthling to 18% otherworldly bits and bobs.) This means he can reason with our alien overlords, maybe get them to reinstate clock radios, so we can all stop showing up late for work.
There’s Doctor Who, of course. But his being fictional might interfere.
Benjamin Franklin invented the lending library, so he’d be perfect. If he weren’t dead that is. Apparently he also invented the flexible urinary catheter. I must say I find it difficult to imagine one of the founding fathers sitting around and saying, “Hey, henceforth what shall we do with the excess urine?”
But let’s get back to the problem at hand, shall we?
I’m sure all of you are waiting for me to suggest my boyfriend, The Daily Show’s, Jon Stewart. However Jon has made it clear on his program that he is not likely to respond well to torture. And in the event one of the aliens blows a zagblat, I’m just not sure Jonny boy would hold up under the pressure. So that leaves me with two empty slots.
I’d suggest the Fire Department of New York but they’re already overworked and underpaid.
Is it wrong I’m having a vaguely erotic fantasy right now in which I lounge in an underground cavern whilst firemen read to me from antique books about urinary catheters?
But I digress.
As you can see, I’m stumped. So I must turn to my Madame Paradox readers for help on this one. What trusty citizens of the world would you nominate to look after the books? Please let me know as soon as possible because I fear time is running out. At least according to the zombie apocalypse lobby, it is.
Dr. Who may be fictional, but at least he could put all the books in the Tardis and send them off somewhere safe. I vote for Tom Baker. If necessary, he could also hide the books in his scarf.
Well if we’re going for fictional might as well add Captain Jack Harkness to the mix. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Chris.
Another belter of a posting, Madame P ~ hey! Why are you not writing articles for leading NY magazines? Your style is just pitch perfect: humorous with digression but always with a serious point to make. You would be SO good 🙂
OK! Where to stash the books ~ as you know, I do keep a dragon behind the house in a cave in the woods … who feels exactly the same as you & I do about the need to preserve the printed page. So … send them over here, my dear. I have already cleared a space deep within his cave & nobody but nobody is going in there without my say so. And, of course, dragons live forever … don’t they?
How could I have forgotten your dragon? That’s a brilliant idea. And since I’m already convinced you live in an alternate reality that should be double protection for the books.
As for me, good question, why aren’t I writing articles for NY magazines? I guess I can’t imagine pitching an article about the demise of books, involving the dalai lama, soylent green and urinary catheters. But perhaps you’re right. Maybe there really is an audience for my madness. I hope so. 🙂
I have got to give some serious consideration to this brilliant question before I answer because Ben Franklin is usually my go-to response. Still.
As you pointed out…
The whole dead thing is inconvenient.
And yet you’ve got me thinking, now that I know about the catheters and everything. I’d always been more of an aphorism/almanac admirer (choosing also to ignore his potential venereal diseases).
How about Snooki, since you mentioned her?
You know she wouldn’t read the books herself and therefore they’d remain in pristine condition.
Plus her spray tan has got to bring with it some preserving agent.
It’s no Soylent Green or anything. But yeah.
I’ll say Snooki.
Because irony is just about my favorite thing. Ever.
You made me laugh and laugh with this one. I couldn’t ask for a more brilliant response.
Snooki will have to pry the books out of my cold dead hands, preserving agent, or not. 🙂
Hillary Clinton. Consolation prize.
For us, or for her? 😉
Well, I for one am out of the running. I’ve got a soon to be two-year-old who eats books up and spits them out like gold fish crackers.
Although, I think our copy of Horton Hears a Who is still intact. I’m going to hide it under the bead so I’m first in line for chocolate when the apocalypse hits.
If you’ve got a Winnie the Pooh and a Goodnight Moon you might even get a cup of coffee. 😉
On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t be concerned. I’ve seen videos of your daughter and Mazzy could probably charm the hell out of our alien overlords without even batting an eyelash.
What are blogs but unedited electronic books? The book apocalypse *is* coming, but hopefully not the librarian apocalypse, they’ll just work for google. I think I’ll stash my books with my ADHD son, because he’ll forget where he hid them and won’t be able to tell the zombies.