As we know, cartoons are created to make us smile, but sometimes, they reflect the truth to the point of losing that purpose. Last week, a friend handed me such a cartoon.
Six school-age children are standing in a circle, holding their electronic toys in their hands and looking at two strange objects at which one is pointing with a stick. All are looking as if they are approaching rattlesnakes or some dangerous objects. As they stand their distance, one asks what those objects are. Well, those dangerous objects are books.
The characters reminded me of those in the Peanuts comic strips and caused me to smile at first glance because their expressions were so serious. The smile faded as the picture of reality came into focus.
Seeing all the electronic gadgets let us know the children are in tune with the present but have already lost touch with the past. All we have to do is to look us to note that many of the youngsters we see are playing with the electronic toys while very few are turning pages of books.
Whereas, books were some of our most prized gifts in the past; now, such gifts would be cast aside at once and replaced by some games that have little to do with what we once considered so precious.
Of course, I am told that the children can learn just as much or more by playing those games as we did by reading our books. Yes, I have seen the gadgets that contain the virtual images of pages that are said to be better than books because they can be regulated by print size, line length, and brightness. I shan’t even enter that argument because one of us is not going to change her mind!
The longer I live, the more thankful I become that I had the opportunity to experience life without all the computerized gadgets. From the time I can remember, we had books at hand and would do almost anything to steal a little time to spend reading them. We felt those wonderful pages, turned them when we needed to, and savored every word as we held our books. We weren’t able to play all the tricks with the printed page that the gadgets play, but we were able to appreciate the beauty of each printed page. The coal oil lamps didn’t give off much light, but they provided enough for us to hold our books close to the lamp and enjoy the stories we were reading at the moment.
In a few years, a library might have a book or two on the shelves, but most space will be taken up by discs of one kind or another and even later inventions. In the meantime, I’ll just continue turning pages and learning about history in the old-fashioned way.
I do enjoy having more light by which to read, but I know I could still read by lamp light and could still turn pages instead of pushing buttons.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.