The Nerds Are Stealing Our Souls

Visiting with clients reading via the Kindle, Sony Reader, or the new iPad INerds have yet to find anyone that isn’t in love with their particular gadget. I listen to their gushing and watch them display it’s wizardry ad nauseum and then ask a simple question; “What about your bookcase back home”? This elicits one of two responses; total silence or … “well…” also followed by total silence punctuated with raised eyebrows and a “how dare you ask me such a question” sneer. That’s when I know Sony, Amazon, or Steve Jobs has taken over their brain.

It never really occurred to me what was happening until I started to notice more and more seemingly intelligent people becoming mind numbed and smug with their noses buried in the grown-ups version of a Game Boy. As time goes on, I’m onto them. The nerds are stealing our souls.

They’ve taken my music, photo album, television, and rolodex. Now they’re after my bookcase. What is it with these diabolically insatiable geeks. They couldn’t achieve world domination by beating somebody up so they have launched a campaign for victory over us by taking one treasure at a time.

Remember when you could leaf through your pile of vinyl LP’s and admire the depth of your collection; the musty smell and the wine stains dotting the artwork of your favorite album left on the coffee table during that crazy party. Gone. 8 tracks and cassettes – gone. iPod, Zune, Fuze, Zen, and Sansa deviously moved in during the night and stole your CD’s. What is Brookstone going to do with all those synthetic wood grain CD racks that are sitting in their warehouses?

As if taking my music collection and shrinking it into my iPod wasn’t enough they went after my pictures too. Now what’s my mom going to do between Halloween and Christmas when there’s no photo album to cover with leftover fabric and fill with embarrassing polaroids? Here’s a tip; sell your stock in Michaels before Silicon Valley puts the arts and crafters out of business.

The big, bulky box TV? Gone. Actually I give the brainiacs a pass on this one because it was a one for one swap with no apparent visual loss of a ‘thing’.

The Rolodex? Nothing says you’ve arrived more than the Rolodex 500 Classic Open Rotary File sitting on your desk with its tattered cards. And what did the nerds do? They made it disappear inside some smart phone or attached it to your computer via LinkedIn or some other professional networking solution. At some point the only thing of importance that will be left on my desk will be a 1995 Atlanta Braves World Champion coaster.

I get it. I’m old school. My kids remind me of that on a weekly basis either verbally or with a dismissive shake of the head. When I was a kid I loved my bedroom which enshrined all the Little League trophies, high school plaques, and team pictures. As an adult, my bookcase represents my trophy case; non-fiction accomplishments. There’s something about having Atlas Shrugged sitting on your bookshelf as opposed to hiding in your Kindle. Can you imagine someone saying … “Oh yea, I read it on my eReader” …. hmmm, sure you did.

My office is an extension of my personality. Virtually every square inch of wall space devoted to pictures, memories, and experiences. Life itself.  A bookcase, what  hangs on the wall, or is held in a CD rack reveals a lot about a person in terms of what is important personally, professionally and emotionally. Personality tends to disappear when crammed into a gadget. But then again, I haven’t known many tech geeks that create these gizmos who are known for their personalities. I’m telling you, they want your soul!

For me however, it is the tactile sense that keeps me in the old school camp. I love my library and the fact that I can touch the books I’ve read and feel the picture frames on the wall. While I don’t miss my old CD’s gathering dust on the shelf, there is something nostalgic about actually showing my kids what real music used to look like. You know, back in the day …

It’s okay that much of my ‘stuff’ remains without the advantage of portability. It gives me another good reason to want to come home.

I’m changing though, slowly. Like I said, the nerds are diabolical; their creations insidiously irresistible. I know change is inevitable and they will likely succeed in getting me to succumb to their toys. Maybe I’ll take a baby step and limit myself to hard covers only on the bookshelf. If nothing else, I might enjoy not having a weeks worth of Wall Street Journal newsprint on my fingers.

Let’s see, should I click on Amazon, NexTag, BizRate ……..


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