I read an article this morning that listed over 50 things that Baby Boomers thought were cool that the author believes are not. The writer even takes on a condescending tone in the presentation as if he or she is much wiser in the limited amount of time lived on the planet as opposed to someone who has been there and done that.
One thing that especially disturbed me—and I’m not even a Baby Boomer, but a flag-carrying Gen-Xer—was the very last entry: a dictionary. The slide begins, “There was a time…” As if the following is going to indicate something that the writer’s sophistication has enabled a transcendence over, allowing a disdain of the trivial. It continues, “if you wanted to know the definition of something you looked it up in the dictionary.” That is true. I remember my grandparents talking about getting out their stone tablets filled with chiseled letters and turning actual pages that must have weighed tons. Sarcasm? Maybe.
The slide ends by saying, “But hey, sometimes they had pictures.” And I guess that is something that the younger generation needs. Pictures and icons and hieroglyphics to help them communicate. Years ago in fact, my boss was much younger than I was.
I gave him a report that analyzed sales trends in conjunction with temperatures and store traffic. It was a lot of numbers and a few graphs. It revealed the best times to present promotional opportunities. A few hours later, he sent me an email saying that it was garbage and didn’t mean anything. I needed to come up with something that worked.
So, I mulled it over. What was garbage about it? Then the lightbulb went off over my head. Working feverishly for the next few minutes, I added pictures. A bright sun for outdoor and a potted flower for indoor. Knowing I couldn’t send it right back, I opened a book and started reading. The next day, I sent it back with my profound apologies that it had not met his requirements. And I waited.
Within the hour, he called me and said it was the greatest, most actionable report he had ever laid eyes on in his short executive career. I thanked him, hung up, and went to lunch shaking my head. The greatest report? I only added pictures. I probably should have done it in crayon. My respect went out the window, and I left the position soon after. Behind that kind of management, the ship was heading for an iceberg—and it did later. But a quick bit of research revealed to me that person is now a vice president in the company.
Back to the dictionary. It is old school. I have an unabridged dictionary from the sixties sitting in my office. It gets quite a bit of use even though I need to get up away from my desk and walk around to the trunk on which it sits in a place of honor. Every time I look a word up, I inevitably find something else that piques my interest.
That dictionary used to get a lot more use back when the kids were in school. In fact, my daughter—who has a daughter of her own now—tells me that she hated it back then but is thankful I would have her look words up. I never dumbed down my vocabulary for my children. If they didn’t know the meaning of something, I would say go look it up. Off they trudged up the stairs, huffing and sighing the entire way.
She even brags about it to her peers now. It will be exciting whenever my granddaughter gets old enough to come over for a visit, and I get to say, “Go look it up.”
WHAT I’M UP TO
WRITING: I met with a local group of people that will be participating in the National Novel Writing Month…movement?…effort? Bishop will be the work that I dedicate the majority of my time to. I also have a couple short stories I need to edit and tighten up before sending them off.
FICTION: The One-Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. has almost been completed. Probably just two more days…especially since I normally hide from all the tricksters roaming the streets on the evenings of the 31st.
NONFICTION: I picked up a new book from Barnes and Noble this past weekend. Since I have professed that I do not believe in Socialism as an effective and prosperous form of government, I need to understand why. Who knows? Maybe I will change my mind. I bought a copy of Kathleen Sears’ Socialism 101. It presents that it can tell me “everything [I] need to know about Socialism.” As far as what I believe is the better form of government…it is not the current oligarchies and monopolies we live under. I’m more of a distributist.
TELEVISION: Coming this Friday and Saturday, the final two episodes of NefFlix’s My Country: A New Age will air. This South Korean television series (subtitled) has been one of the best series I have seen in a while. The subtitles do not bother me in the slightest. It is a historical fiction that covers the transition of the Goryeo to Joseon dynasties. It contains all the intrigues of political upheaval: betrayal, war, intrigue, sword fights, love, misunderstandings. My weekend is incredibly full, but I will squeeze it in somehow.
MOVIES: You can’t go wrong with a little gratuitous martial arts violence in a film every now and then. I watched Ninja Assassin last night. A 2009 film directed by James McTeigue and starring Korean actor and singer Rain (Jung Ji-hoon). It won Rain a Biggest Badass award from the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. But that it is all it won. Did it entertain me? Absolutely. It was a good martial arts flick about a kidnapped orphan that grew up in the Ozunu Clan but leaves it, only to be wanted for execution by Lord Ozunu and his ninja disciples. It also stars Naomie Harris (Moneypenny of the latest James Bonds films) and Rick Yune (Johnny Tran from The Fast and the Furious and Kang from Olympus Has Fallen).