Being the old fart that I am, it’s not the least bit unusual for me to think about my younger days; sometimes with pleasure, sometimes with regret.
I suppose this looking back has something to do with my current project of re-reading books I read in those younger days.
Having finished my re-read of Siddhartha, I started in on my re-reading of Herman Hesse’ Steppenwolf. I first read the novel when I was 20 or 21. This is not a book for the young. Even then, I recognized that there was much to Steppenwolf which I could not understand. Today, being older than the protagonist, Harry Haller, I can more easily get into his head. He isn’t me-I’m not Harry Haller- but I can understand him much better now than I could have in 1972 or 1973.
No, I’m not Harry Haller incarnate, but I could very well have been had I not made changes in direction long ago.
And thank God, this is not 1972.
While I may reminisce on occasion, I believe I long for the past a good deal less than others of my generation. I am so over the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and all the other musicians and song writers I worshiped during my adolescence.
I may very well be an old fart, but I’m more at home in the early 21st century than I am in the late 70’s. I’m absolutely enamored with the Internet and the Digital Age. When a mobile app will allow me to access every piece of music Mozart ever composed, why would I possibly post a video of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on Facebook?
Even my re-reading of Siddhartha and Steppenwolf was brought about by the Internet. Rather than having to locate paper copies, I was able to have both novels downloaded onto my Kindle. Polish sci-fi writer, Stanislaus Lem predicted in his 1961 masterpiece, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, that in the future, books would no longer exist due to a paper eating virus. It’s far more likely that, just as video killed the radio star, the death of paper books will come from the invention of Nook, Kindle and other e readers.
The future has arrived and for the most part, I’m down with it. Except for tattoos, that is.