Dear Theoretical Future Grandchildren,
Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. You had better not be calling me Pop Pop or Pappi or anything like that when you show up. I kinda despise kids that do that. “Grandpa” will do nicely, thank you very much.
But that isn’t what I wanted to write to you about. What I really wanted to say was this:
The future is bound to be a pretty cool place overall. In just the past ten years I’ve seen innovations in technology that seem almost miraculous. I don’t even want to guess what kind of cool stuff is going to come out in the twenty to thirty years its going to take for you guys to show up.
But something about this boom in technology makes me a little sad. See, we have these relatively new things now called eReaders. I’m relatively sure you’re not calling them that in the future, but basically they’re screens you can carry around read books on. They will probably also shoot lasers and teleport you to the moon by the time you read this, but for now they mostly just read books.
I like these eReader things. They’re convenient, and they’ve opened doors for starting out authors like me to find an audience with minimal starting expense. But I feel it is almost certain they’re going to supplant physical books almost entirely by the time you get here.
I’m sure you know what physical books are. You’ve probably seen them in movies and chances are you’ll still be able to buy them in thrift stores and consignment shops and the like.
But I was standing in a book store the other day thinking about you, wondering if you would have the chance to experience the same thing I experienced in my lifetime. Because, maybe I’m just being sentimental or superstitious, but when I stand in the middle of rows and rows of bookshelves, when I look around and see all those millions of pages laid back to back, when I think of all the effort those authors put into their works, I get a little chill that shoots up the top of my spine and explodes in my head like an Independence Day firecracker. It seems almost as if I can feel the raw power of the words around me, multiplied by their proximity to each other until I can almost hear them whispering, trying to tell my their stories directly through the aether that surrounds us all.
And I wonder, will you have the chance to experience that? Maybe you will. Maybe the thought of having all the great works of literature (and most of the bad ones) literally at your fingertips will give you a thrill of excitement that could rival my own experience.
But I think it far more likely that you will have grown so accustomed to the wonders of technology that it will all mean very little to you. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just human nature. Our sense of wonder turns to boredom far too quickly.
And that’s why I’m writing this letter. Because I want you to be able to close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like to be able to stand in a place where a myriad words huddled together like frightened refugees, waiting to be read, waiting to be brought alive in the mind of some boy or girl, man or woman.
Your future may be a wonderful place, but always remember that when something wonderful is found, something equally wonderful is often lost.
Your Theoretical Future Grandfather