I have a new mistress.
At 7.5″ tall and weighing in at an alarming 8.7 ounces, she’s not as tall or curvy as I usually like, but I think it could be love. My wife invited her–I call her Kindle–into our relationship last night for an early Father’s Day present. I didn’t get much sleep but I don’t regret it. A massive infusion of B vitamins usually gets me back on my feet.
In December I will be celebrating my 34th anniversary with my first love. I made it for over 33 years without cheating.
I swore that I would never want one. I would never wander. Not with my heart, my eyes, or my fingers.
But I was still up at 2 AM pushing buttons and fumbling around, amazed at how something as familiar as reading could seem so new. So responsive and accessible. (And during breaks she brought me some free word games to play with, the bookworm’s equivalent of “get me a beer”).
I’d done it thousands and thousands of times, although I’ll admit I’m rarely at it past midnight anymore, and I don’t read quite as much as I did as a younger man.
I swore that I would never stray away from the smells of old books and the rustle of yellowed, oft-turned pages. I would never crave any satisfactions that I couldn’t get from the books I had committed to as a child.
I fought it as long as I could. One by one, my objections fell. To be fair, most of these were simply things I heard by hysterical book lovers and librarians:
- The Kindle will consume libraries and you’ll be out of a job
- The Amazon Kindle will put authors out of work because it will make it possible for everyone to steal their books in digital format
- The Kindle eats children
- Gaddafi is a huge fan of The Kindle. So was Saddam. So is Mugabe. Ditto for the Countess of Bathory and Lizzie Borden
- It devalues books
- They’re not real books
- It will make it too easy for any author to publish his or her crap. That’s a loss for readers
- Reading on a Kindle is a sin – it is the most popular gadget in Hell
- When you download a book from Whispernet, a baby deer dies
- It’s cold and clinical and there’s no charm, none of the warmth associated with pleasure reading
- But but but you have to buy all the books
So be it. I’d rather see it all burn down around me then go back.
I’m on break at work right now and all I think about is getting home, lying back in bed with enough lamplight to see what I’m working with, and getting after it again.
It doesn’t mean that I’ll be getting rid of the thousands of books I have in my basement, or that I’ll quit bringing books home from the library. I’ll turn pages, break spines, accidentally give myself papercuts, and I’ll enjoy it all.
But after this long I’ll do whatever I have to to keep things spicy. And lest you judge me too harshly, remember: it was my wife’s idea.
Anything that feels this good can’t be a sin. And it is a fairly cheap date, considering what you get. Give it a click over there. You’ll see.