Avant Garde

forward_thinkingI’ve never been ahead of the curve with anything, at least off the top of my head that feels like the case. The most I can say is that I liked the band Live before they got famous. Score one for me, but there’s not much else. In fact, I often seem to be the last one to hear things, to do things, and to “get” things. I’m quite proud of our Wii, that we got a year and a half after it was made available to the public. My glasses are the latest style… for 2001. I’m even still rocking an iPod Classic and quite proud of it. Oh, and I just got into spinning, too, about ten years after it became really popular.

And all of that’s okay because I don’t need to have the latest everything, or the best quality anything, or the ability to play video games with my friends online. I’m cool with being that guy who drives a 2008 car, who watches every Friends episode a million times, and laughs in all the right places every time, and who sits still at night instead of going clubbing, Madonna-style. Oh wait, Madonna is soooo over. I mean, going clubbing, Miley Cyrus-style.

The funniest thing is that the older I get the more I realize just how ludicrous it is to want the “latest” anything because if you blink that too becomes yesterday’s news and you “have to” get the next version. Finally got the iPhone 5s? Now here comes the 6+ and you have to buy it. Because it’s new, and as Barney Stinson says, “new is always better.” But is it?

e82d618fb47fbed8fa55f013540fe3cfI got new sneakers that ended up pinching my feet because the style is for people with standard feet and I have wide ones. I got the new Mumford & Sons record because it was the hip, happening scene, and I hated it. I tried to go clubbing, Taylor Swift-style, and I ended up hanging at the bar chatting with some other guy who seemed tapped out too. And that’s not to say I’m boring. Far from it. I just find my joy and excitement in being inventive, in the type of creativity and oddness that you just can’t teach. Which is fine for me, but which also keeps me somewhat stuck in the stone age.

When I was 12 I decided I wanted to shave my head. Michael Jordan did it, and it seemed like the “in” thing to do, so I went for it. And my head was cold, not to mention pale because I had never done it before. Until that hair grew back in I had the harsh two-tone look that wasn’t good for my reputation with the ladies. Maybe I should have thought before trying to be new and hip. And technology is all good and well until it breaks down or you can’t use it anymore.

When the power went out the other day my daughters looked at each other and at me over the candlelight  and shrugged their shoulders. They honestly had no clue what to do or how to do it without electricity, without the power to access the wi-fi that powers most of their iPad apps. I suggested we play hide and seek, and they were nonplussed. Now I know what it feels like to be a dinosaur amongst the Lilliputians. But that’s okay. I wouldn’t know what to do otherwise.

Oh, and I read to them. What a novel notion.

Sam

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