Mimsy needed to go out one more time for the night, but it was too early for our last stroll of the day. To kill some time, I went down to the kitchen to finish cleaning a skillet that was soaking. I told Alexa she could resume the playlist that had accompanied the evenings meal prep. Somewhere between drying the skillet and cleaning the chef’s knife that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, I checked my phone. By checking my phone, I don’t mean examining the disconnected rotary dial instrument hanging on the kitchen wall, the one with the long curly cord. I mean the smartphone that was in my pocket, the one that goes pretty much everywhere I go, the one I have a hard time ignoring.
I had an alert informing me that a new post had been created in the 15 minutes since I last checked my phone … “25 uses for Wood Ash.”
I almost clicked on it.
It’s not like it was an announcement for Vampire Sex Kittens … there is certainly nothing wrong with wood ash, but I don’t have any wood ash. I also don’t have the time, capacity or interest, to know what to do with wood ash … yet I had to fight the urge not to click on the link. (Admit it, you secretly want to know the 25 uses for wood ash).
I am what is referred to as “of a certain age.” For those in their 30’s, I’m frightfully old, for those in their 80’s, I’m wistfully young. There are scarce rewards to being of a certain age, but there are a few. One of those benefits is perspective. I remember driving cross-country as newlyweds with Mrs. Poppy. We drove for days armed only with a wad of traveler’s checks for currency, a bag of paperbacks for entertainment, a roll of quarters for toll roads and AAA TripTiks for navigation. We blissfully didn’t miss GPS systems, satellite radio, or smartphones, because none of those were yet invented. Somehow we survived.
Being of a certain age, I’m also learning my limitations. I own a 32′ extension ladder that fully extended will barely reach the gutters of our 1890 house. No thank you. Not gonna happen. At one time, yes, but not anymore. A man needs to know his limitations.
I can’t prove this scientifically, but I believe one of my limitations is how much information my brain can hold, whether it’s important information like passwords, which seem to dissipate into the nether about 15 minutes after creating them, or truly useless information like the latest CNN headlines.
I have a fear that if I upload the 25 uses for wood ash into my brain, that it will displace an equal amount of information out the back of my brain, never to be retrieved. A man needs to know his limitations.
I’m hardly a Luddite, in fact I love my technology, yet I can’t help but wonder if the net sum doesn’t fall into the negative territory. The internet is an endless series of rabbit holes, constructed for us to jump into, only the emerge from the other end 15 minutes later having learned nothing of true value, or worse being exposed to half-truths, innuendo and malice.
If I added up all the time spent on jumping into those rabbit holes could I have written “The Great American Novel?”
But maybe, “The Average to Slightly Below Average American Novel.”
A man needs to know his limitations.