Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: googled (04/10/14)
TITLE: On the Top Shelf of my Bookcase
By Laura Hawbaker
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I purchased these Funk and Wagnalls back in the eighties when I had a houseful of little children. I was really longing for a set of prestigious World Book encyclopedias, like the ones I grew up with, but found their price prohibitive for our struggling budget. So when the local Super Value ran a special deal on Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedias I couldn’t resist. For a certain amount of dollars spent on groceries you could purchase a volume of the set for ninety-seven cents. We had to buy groceries anyway and the additional ninety-seven cents was hardly noticeable on the final tab.
I was quite proud of my growing set of encyclopedias and though not quite the quality of my fondly remembered World Book, I felt very accomplished when I completed the set. I relegated them to the top shelf in the living room to keep them out of reach of grubby little hands. I looked forward to the day my children would be old enough to get lost in the depths of information between volume number one and volume twenty-nine.
Well, as time and technology would have it, the children grew up and rarely used the books. Shortly after we purchased our first personal computer, we also purchased the World Book on compact disc. I finally had my World Book! Considerably cheaper than the cost of a set of books, the CD’s were packed full of colorful, easy to access information. Then with the introduction of the internet and the wonderful tool of google, even the CD version of World Book became obsolete.
Now, if for some odd reason someone at the supper table wonders what language is spoken in India I say, “I’ll look it up,” as I head to the row of Funk and Wagnalls. While I am climbing on a chair to reach the top shelf, one of my young adult children will say, “I’ll google it,” as they pull out the smart phone. The race is on!
The google users usually win (if the internet is cooperating) but that’s not because I am slow or because I have to climb on a chair. It’s because on my way to India, I get sidetracked with Impressionism and look a few minutes at a painting called “Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair.” And then I pause to look at a picture of an Inca ruins before I hurry on to the languages of India. So many interesting facts can be found in the turning of pages.
No, I don’t have any immediate plans to recycle my Funk and Wagnalls. They will keep their designated place on the top shelf, right above another endangered species—my 1978 edition of The New Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
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