Monday, July 31, 2006

Please go away; my brain is full today

The e-mail’s subject line was “Jason’s newsletter.”

Great. E-mails called “Jason’s newsletter” usually contained things like, “my wife and I really enjoyed this month’s newsletter,” “congratulations on the new baby,” or “forget that $20 you owe me.” And, even better, I rarely get called an idiot unless the e-mail’s from my family.

I opened it.

“My wife and I really enjoyed this month’s newsletter.”

Good so far, but the e-mail suddenly turned into something like a letter for jury duty ­ I paid just enough attention to know I didn’t want anything to do with it.

“Has anyone ever talked to you about this neat new thing called HTML code?”

HTML code? Yeah, I’d heard of it. It’s a type of language for people who talk to computers instead of getting dates. Using HTML code in my newsletter would make it more attractive and include all sorts of little buttons for readers to click.

What caused my mind to scream “now’s the time to panic” wasn’t that this guy used an acronym I wasn’t comfortable with. What bugged me was the first thing that rushed through my head ­ slamming and locking doors along the way ­ is that I didn’t want to know anything about HTML code.

This fear of the unknown could be attributed to cowardice (possibly), ignorance (quite probably), and maybe even global warming (most certainly).

Or, it could simply be the fact that I’m now 41 years old and that qualifies me as a stodgy old fart who don’t cotton to them new-fangled idears.

Yeah, that was it. HTML code was just something to learn, and I didn’t want to learn anything else. Learning broadens your view of the world and I like my world just fine, thank you.

My son was 6 when Pokémon was big ,and he wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer. He had Pokémon games, Pokémon cards and Pokémon bed sheets.

He was so engulfed in Pokémon, I wanted to share in his interest because my parents, although they sat through “Planet of the Apes” with me, didn’t really appreciate the subtle social commentary of a gorilla shooting a man in the throat.

So, for my son, I learned all there was to know about Pokémon.

Then, one day, he didn’t like Pokémon anymore. He liked something called Yu-Gi-Oh! He put a deck of nightmarish cards in front of me.

“You wanna play?” he asked.

“Wait a second,” I said. “I can finally recite from memory that Charmeleon evolves from Charmander, that Bulbasaur’s major attack is vine whip, and a water type is best to use against a rock type, now you want me to forget all that and learn something else?”

The Boy shrugged.

“Guess so,” he said. “Now are you ready to play?”

“Nope. I can’t learn anymore,” I told him, then stuck my thumbs in my ears and made “na-na-na” noises.

Sitting in front of my computer, looking at the e-mail encouraging me to learn HTML code, I stuck my thumbs in my ears and made “na-na-na” noises.

Is this it for me? Is my head full already?

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