Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, June 14, 2019, 12:22 p.m.
What is better now than it used to be?
Special K. Remember when kids jockeyed for position to get the best cereal ahead of their siblings from the Kellogg’s Snack Pack? Special K wasn’t special at all. It usually got thrown away. It was supposed to be healthy, which explained why no kid wanted it.
Nowadays, Special K is good. It has different flavors, and the crunchier flakes are mixed with dried strawberries, blueberries, vanilla and almond, etc.
I’m sure it’s not as healthy, but life is fatal. Everything will kill you. Some things slow it down. Some speed it up. Everything leads to your ultimate demise. If you lived a completely healthy life, my suspicion is that the stress would kill you.
Damn the torpedos. Gimme two hot dogs, all the way.
TV is better, though, again, not better for you. It might reduce the world to chaos and disarray, but at least old movies and sports will anesthetize you as you plunge into that nether world of knowing just enough to be dangerous. Clever, not wise. Mistaken, not ignorant. Glory in the lowest of denominators.
My tastes and preferences are, of course, customized to my life, which has been going on for quite a while and left me resistant to change.
Not only have I never taken an Uber or a Lyft, but I haven’t even taken a taxi in 10 years. I can only imagine how bad air travel has grown. I flew all over the country for 20 years, and it got worse every year.
Worse seems much easier to discuss than better. I’ll try for a few more graphs, though.
Many of the world’s improvements are beyond my ability to comprehend. A fortnight is two weeks; Fortnite is an online video game. Apparently, you can save the world by killing zombie-like creatures. I’ve never killed zombie-like creatures, though I’ve encountered them at Krystal late at night.
Water isn’t better. It just costs money.
Writing books is better. Selling them is harder. In the mid-1980s, when I wrote my first, I spent hours at a library looking at microfilm. Now I can google “Dodge police car, 1940s” and look at one for the hero of my historical novel to drive. I’m mainly modern in the ways of my profession.
Underwear is better. I still like the briefs to be cotton. I mistakenly bought a large number of boxer/briefs – a truly great idea, by the way – that were made of something like polyester. They still make me feel like I’m wearing panties, but I bought them, by gosh, and I’m going to wear them, damn it to hell, until they’re worn out, and they don’t wear out as fast as cotton, so, by being better, it’s actually worse.
Perhaps the Bellamy Brothers, David and Howard, sang it best:
He’s an old hippie / And he don’t know what to do / Should he hang on to the old? / Should he grab on to the new?
Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.
The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.