Canadian Yankee
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Yesterday at lunchtime I wandered into the local independently owned bookstore. As I was gathering up my purchases, the guy behind me in line approached the unsuspecting employee behind the counter and said, "Um...I'm wondering if you have anything from the classics."

The girl working the register looked a little confused and then gestured vaguely and said, "We have a whole section of classics over there." (They do. It's a small bookstore, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in intellectual pretension. That's why I love it so.)

He said, "I was hoping you could recommend something - I have no idea about any of it and I was wondering where to start."

I fled at that point (thank God he was behind me in line), not having any particular desire to see the poor salesgirl try to deal with a customer who apparently managed to get through his secondary education without ever taking a single literature class.

While I suppose there are classics like Animal Farm or To Kill a Mockingbird that are generally accessible to self-proclaimed dolts (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Readers Digest published an entire "Classics for Dolts" series), he's very lucky that I wasn't working at this particular store. I'm afraid that the temptation to sell him Ulysses or Naked Lunch or maybe The Canterbury Tales in the original Chaucerian English would have been irresistible.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
So after that last post I made, I was desperately in need of cheering up. So what did I do?

I bought something cute and shiny!

My old cell phone was over two years old (practically prehistoric in cell phone terms) and was beginning to have occasional mechanical problems (like turning itself off at random times for no good reason). The new one is half the size and much shinier!

Generally I like it, but it has more functions than it really needs. The screen resolution is probably higher (in total number of pixels) than the first computer my parents had (a TRS-80). This means it can do all sorts of completely useless animations. A happy little clown waves to me when I turn the phone on and every section of the main menu has its own little animation. Apparently just going to the "Settings" menu isn't sufficient, it has to show me a little picture of a dancing hammer and gears flying out of a folder to prove that it's the settings menu. The calculator and world time zone functions, on the other hand, are way cool.

I would definitely trade every single one of the thirty different happy little tunes this phone can play for a single ring tone that sounds like an actual phone ringing. I know that way back when I was in elementary school and we were writing little essays on what the twenty-first century would be like, we all hoped for things like flying cars or vacations on the moon. Not a single person wrote "personal communication devices that play Henry Mancini's 'Baby Elephant Walk' every time your mother calls." I daresay that anyone who had written this seriously disturbing prediction would have been shuffled off to the guidance councilor's office in a heartbeat.

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