Thursday, May 3, 2007

Age cannot wither

There was the Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Brass Age, all of which, as an emerging species, we seem to have come through without too many scars. There was a Gilded Age, an Age of Innocence, and there was even--Darwin help us!--an Age of Reagan. Now, before our very eyes, fighting it out as though they were Sunnis and Shia, two forces compete for the grand prize in the Name That Age finals.

The Age of Organization forces hold sway with Palm Pilots, Blackberries, and various USB sticks that allow them to transport enormous batches of information through the ether or, if you will, over wireless networks. These forces are always on time for meetings, send Power Point Presentations on ahead of them to lunch dates, and in their spare time, while many of us are frittering away at crossword puzzles, they invent new, creative things to do with spreadsheets. They are so organized that they can tell you where wrinkles will appear on items of clothing they have yet to wear.

The other Age boosters are a part of the self-improvement camp, literate in several disciplines including yoga and tai-chi. They have memorized at least two self-improvement books and are quick to see how the world would move more efficiently on its course if only the rest of us, the civilians, as it were, would stop using passive voice construction in our business memos.

I don't bother with business memos, can't in fact, stand them, and have to the best of my knowledge, enjoined my email server from accepting them, should somebody want to send me one. I like not knowing where I will be next Thursday at about this time, even though, now that I think about it, I will be right where I am now, pushing schedule on a book review that should go off sometime later this afternoon or evening.

Information is not to be sneezed at (I have enough sneezing triggers from the mid-Spring pollens) and I would hate to be without it. Self-improvement is a lovely concept and I set forth every day in hopes of accomplishing some of it, even if all that means is sneaking in a little writing or perhaps a nap. That leaves me, I suspect, in the minority of wanting to be out of striking range of these two evangelical forces where I can spend as much time as possible considering the ageless miracle of the small things afloat in the universe.

Since I began these vagrant lines with a nod to one of the Shakespeare plays, it is fitting and circular to close these observations on the uncivil war between the Informationists and the Improvmentalists: A plague on both your houses.

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