I have never been a science fiction fan but I have always loved the 1969 hit song, In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans. I occasionally hear it on the oldies but goodies stations and I always find myself tapping my feet, swaying my hips and singing along off-key with gusto. Not the best visual of a woman my age, I know and a dangerous one if I’m driving, which I usually am when listening to the radio.
I thought of this song again yesterday evening as I stood drooling in front of Barnes & Noble’s newest color Nook. I’d dashed over there to pick up the June issue of Whole Living, Body + soul in balance, a magazine that I love. I once gave a friend of mine a subscription to this magazine but never wanted to subscribe to it myself for one reason. It gave me an excuse to go to Barnes & Nobles at least once a month, my place of refuge and anti-depression therapy.
When the Barnes and Noble Nook representative showed me all the clichéd bells and whistles I started to hyperventilate. I had managed to resist the e-book reader so far thanks to my passion and dedication to books. Not only do I love to read, I truly love books: the feel, the scent, the beauty of them. I also am addicted to magazines, a trait I inherited from my mother. As the sales clerk continued titillating me with all the Nook features, I rationalized that I needed it to reduce clutter in my life. Fewer magazines stacked on chairs and floor and maybe a few less books on the shelves. "I might buy a color Nook next month as a birthday present to myself," I told her.
When the sales clerk told me that they were reducing the discount rate for my membership card and that last year they had sold more Nooks than books, I swear I started hearing the lyrics to In the Year 2525. More Nooks than books? Does that mean that the day will come when there will be a Barnes & Noble in the cloud only with no physical store to stroll through and books to scan through? Will that become the fate of our libraries as well? With the 64% budget cuts made recently by Texas legislation for libraries, this could be sooner than we think.
In the year 4545, ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes. You won’t find a thing to chew, nobody’s gonna look at you.
I am a hermit by nature. And that is one of my biggest fears about retirement. That I will end up sitting in front of a television or computer screen rest of my life, never having to leave my house. Never have human contact.
In the year 5555, your arms are hanging limp at your sides. Your legs got nothing do. Some machine is doing that for you.
In 1969 we thought we’d never live to see these lyrics come to life. It was not in our future. But we’re ahead of schedule and it scares me.
In the year 6565, you’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too from the bottom of a long glass tube.
Now it’s been 10,000 years….. No. Maybe it's only yesterday.