Stone Knives and Bearskins
By Jeff Baker
Our computers are down as I write this. At least, the modem and Internet are out. (Word processor still works.) Should have it back up sometime tomorrow. For the weekend we’ve been basically living in the 1970s, except with cable. It says a lot that I capitalized “Internet” above. We’ve come to depend on this thing. A lot. It has helped me get some of my writing published professionally and a lot of it posted. (It also brought my husband and I together but that’s another story.) We’ve had the T.V. on and we keenly feel the absence of the worldwide web, as we can’t look up information on what we see; what credits the actors on screen have, what Patrick Mahome’s stats are, game scores and research items for fiction I’m working on.
In a way, it’s like taking a breather. I haven’t had to check my e-mail for two days (that’s the thing about having a couple of pen names; those multiple e-mail addresses you have to check.) No keeping up with writing contacts on Facebook as well as the ephemera of their personal lives. The wellspring of information is addictive, and I probably became a writer because I’m addicted to information. In the days before I was online I could spend hours in the downtown library, reading back issues of magazines; flying from fact to fact, subject to subject.
I’ve also read all of Walter Brooks’ “Mr. Ed” stories that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, in the library’s back issues.
I lived in the school library in High School, reading through the bound copies of Life from the ‘40s. I’ve used an awful lot of information I’ve stumbled across in libraries and have written stories that would never have existed if I hadn’t read about the U.S. Homefront during World War Two or the history of parks in Wichita, Kansas
Technology goes blooey and we’re lost; including those of us who grew up before the internet, cellphones and even didn’t have air conditioning until they were fourteen. A few years ago our phones went out and before calling the phone company (via cellphone) I decided to check with our neighbors to see if it was a neighborhood-wide outage. The neighbor’s response was; “Oh, we don’t have a landline anymore.”
I walked back home feeling like: “Me Ooog. Me live in cave, Cave good.”
Cave have cable.
Jeff Baker blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror and other sundry matters around the thirteenth of each month. He lives with his husband Darryl in Wichita, Kansas where there is no truth to the rumor that they eat brontoburgers and cactus cola. He has been published in three of the Queer SciFi anthologies and the podcast “Monsters Out of the Closet,” among other places. He posts weekly fiction on his blog https://authorjeffbaker.com/ and his Facebook page is at Jeff Baker, Authorhttps://www.facebook.com/pg/Jeff-Baker-Author-176267409096907/posts/