Tuesday, October 06, 2009

the attempt to recapture ignorance.....

I'm reading the book Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian. It's about a guy who's a "junker", someone who runs a second hand store and is constantly on the lookout for things to buy so he can clean them up and sell them to someone else.

There's a part in the book where a man comes in and buys an old, non-working radio. He says his parents had one just like it when he was a kid and that he hadn't seen one like it in decades. Richard, the owner of the store, thinks about this as the man leaves the store with his new purchase:

This is a strange thing about people. We own something as children, then as adults we are willing to buy it again for about a hundred times the original cost. We think we’re buying back our youth or our innocence or something like that, but what we’re really buying back is our ignorance. We want to remember a time when we didn’t know so much.

I read this and it hit me that I've been guilty of this very thing. I saw an old "Billy Blastoff" toy on eBay a year or so ago. In mint condition, the cost was about $300. I knew I couldn't afford it, and wouldn't buy it even if I could, but the memories it brought back were incredible. I was 5 years old when I got "Billy" for Christmas. You can't get much more ignorant than 5 years old.

I thought about the author's words on the way into work this morning. It struck me that Facebook is allowing people to recapture their ignorance with its service. We reconnect with people we haven't seen in decades, back to a time when our lives were less complicated, more innocent, more ignorant to what was to come later in life; back to a time when we didn't know nearly as much as we thought we did.

I can see the new marketing campaign now - "Facebook - ignorance realized". Yeah, maybe not.....

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