Our PR team came together recently in our funky meeting room, Hollywood North to brainstorm jaw-dropping headlines for a survey we were planning to undertake about the junk in peoples’ lives. The white board was jam-packed and my hand was sore from jotting down ideas. This was our second go-round and our sharp and innovative team was beginning to feel a little deflated. And then one of the group asked if we’d heard about the baby who thought a magazine was an ipad that didn’t work.
That did it. Result achieved: my jaw dropped, and stayed there until my team mates began to exchange awkward looks. (The generation gap in the room made this not quite so shocking for them. After all, the last shocker of this kind I had experienced was the one about the child who was confused by his Dad’s instructions to “turn the shiny black vinyl disc to the other side.” Sorry, guys, but I think that was you!).
So now we were on to something. What does this say about our society? Recently Encyclopedia Britannica, the oldest English-language encyclopedia, in print since 1768, halted the printing press forever. And now our babies are perplexed and frustrated by the glossy, yet static, magazine photos that don’t respond to their nimble fingers.
The team was excited at the possibility of stumbling on to a great headline, until it dawned on us that 1-800-GOT-JUNK? must contribute to the loss of these items in young peoples’ lives. We haul away a lot of books! Yes, many of them are donated to shelters, thrift stores, and the like. But how long will that last for when the printed form is fast becoming an antique relic?
Or do we look at this in another way? That is, are we contributing to simplifying peoples’ lives by clearing away the clutter of items that – let’s face it – aren’t being used anyway? No matter which view you take, the results are the same: kids are growing up in a new, digital world and there is no way to stop it. The best we can do is provide some sage advice: hang on to those special books that had so much meaning to you as a child, or that you’ve read over and over again as an adult. Make a space for them in your otherwise clutter-free home. The energy of a good book, after all, is more uplifting than the energy of unused and dusty junk.