Yes, 2016 has sucked out loud, and I won’t even try to list all the celebrity deaths that have scarred the past year for our celebrity-driven culture. I also won’t note the death of civility in public and political discourse, thanks in large part to social media’s prominence in our nascent “post-truth” civilization.
And I won’t say anything disrespectful about Donald J. Trump, except that he is the perfect president-elect for the glass-half-empty class of people we have become. He’s our latest model American, I guess, until we’re at least half full again and can take more pleasurable roads than the expressway to perdition.
I have always heard that books are portals to other times and places. But when Timberley and I went Christmas shopping last week at Barnes & Noble, I wasn’t expecting to step into a time machine and revisit the 1970s without even opening a book.
That’s what happened, though. It really was deja vu all over again, triggered not by the written word or by a smell, as is often the case, but by the sight of something I thought I’d never see again – a roomful of record albums. LPs. Big, beautiful, shrink-wrapped sleeves of cardboard bearing veritable works of art and enveloping the greatest sounds ever pressed into vinyl or committed to any other medium.
Our heroes – old and young alike – are dying. Our new leader is a liar, and we who elected him – even we Christians who champion truth – knew it. Our choices aren’t choices at all. Everything seems inside out, upside down or backwards. Nothing makes sense. We can’t be sure of anything anymore.
In case you noticed, I didn’t upload a column last week for the first time since the end of August, not because I didn’t want to write something but because my AMC Gremlin of a computer wouldn’t let me. Like so many other beaters, it veered off the Information Highway and crashed into a virtual brick wall last week, and I didn’t get it back on the road until yesterday.
Lest I forget, I want to thank the guys at PeopleCentric Computers on West Union Street, Morganton, for coming to the rescue again. Back in September they helped me bring this ancient Toshiba Satellite laptop back to life by adding some RAM, selling me a whiz-bang USB WiFi adapter, and helping me get the Microsoft Windows monkey off my back for good. It all cost only 40 bucks.
Yesterday, after fiddling with the broken-down laptop for a week, I finally decided that, yes, I needed to replace its hard drive. Sure enough, PeopleCentric Computers had the hard drive I needed for only $20. It took me only about 10 minutes to install the drive after getting back home. Then I installed the Linux Mint operating system – not the latest version, but new enough for me – and here I am.