I’ve mentioned Minnie Pearl’s joke about the School Board before. She announces to her straight man that she is going straight to the Board because she has heard about the kids in high school playing kissing games.
“I don’t blame you, Minnie,” her straight man would reply, “I’d want to put a stop to that, too.”
“Put a stop to it?” she’d cry out. “I want to get IN on it!”
I was wasting time being disgusted at modern society this weekend when I realized my mistake. We need to think of a way to get the Book Fair to be a part of the new trends, not an escape from them. And I think it can be done.
For years now, I’ve been told how silly I am to sell old records, since no one plays them any more. But I can always count on someone else to tell me I’m a fool for selling them so cheaply. “Vinyl’s coming back, you know,” they say, nodding in that way people nod to prove they’re right and you’re wrong. “You need to raise the prices for those collectors.”
Vinyl’s been coming back now since the year it went out of style, but I did hear a report last week that vinyl record sales last year amounted to more than the amount made by any of the music download sites. So maybe the LP market is recovering.
At the same time, I paused in another grocery store which has shoved aside the plastic bottles of pop to show off their line of soda in glass bottles. The bottles indicate that the liquid inside has been made to an old-fashioned recipe involving real sugar.
I think we’re poised on the brink of another nostalgia boom. The country goes through these on a regular basis. I have myself lived through the Roaring Twenties (very popular in the sixties), the hard knock Depression years (sixties and seventies), the rock and roll Fifties (big in the seventies and eighties), and the revival, so help me, of the Eighties before we decided to reach back and be nostalgic for the World War II era and then the Sixties. Looking up prices online, I can see that some of the Sixties-era Twenties nostalgia items are themselves becoming collectible.
It’s partly a matter of looking back on a bygone age, but it also carries a certain amount of status. You, by using some bygone item, are demonstrating a superiority to your colleagues, who merely skim the surface of contemporary life. You know something which is a complete mystery to them. I have been told, for example, by a scientific colleague that it is a matter of status in the world of the techs to carry a slide rule. This implies that you are so learned you can actually use this instrument of demons, even though the computer has largely eliminated any need for you to do so.
Well, I think the Book Fair can make much of this. All I need is the budget to start making the commercials. This seven year-old announces he has his report done for class because he found everything he needed to know online. “Huh,” says his friend on the schoolbus, “I used an encyclopedia.”
“It’s a bunch of books with interesting stuff inside.”
“I saw one of those in a museum. You just go to D and read about up Dogs, right?”
“No! There’s stuff about dogs all through it. I looked in the index!”
“It’s like Googling in a book.” Then we flash to the kid showing off the A on his report, and being allowed to carry the laptop of the cutest girl in his class, while his friends whisper, “He knows how to use an encyclopedia.”
As soon as I figure out what kind of media seven year-olds watch these days (hey, maybe I can start unloading these vintage nostalgic TV remote controls, too), we’re golden.