“Mommy,” said the child in the doctor’s waiting room. “What’s that man doing over there in the corner?”
“It’s called reading, Honey,” said the child’s mother with a little uneasiness in her voice?
“But,” continued the little girl “where is his tablet and what is that funny thing he is looking at?”
“He doesn’t have a tablet sweetie. That’s called a book.”
“A book?” Said this tiny carbon-based life form. “What is a book, Mommy?”
“A book is something you read on pages made from real paper, then it’s bound or glued together with a cover. A book doesn’t have batteries, doesn’t need to charge and has a very pleasant smell to it. It’s what your father and I used to read before there was the internet or electronic reading material.” Explained the larger carbon-based life form.
“Before the Internet? Wow! What was life like before the internet?” Asked the terrified little girl.
“Dark, Sweetheart. A dark time indeed. When you are older, Mommy and Daddy will sit you down and tell you what life was like before the internet or any kind of electronic reading material.”
“Now what’s he doing Mommy?” Continued the same inquisitive little girl.
“He’s turning the page” came the reply.
“Turning the page? What’s that?”
“It’s the old-school way of scrolling. With books, you don’t scroll to get to next section, you turn the page” explained a very patient mother.
“So, how many stories are in that book thingy?”
“Usually, just the one” replied the female parental unit.
“One? I’ve got lots and lots of stories on my tablet. How come he doesn’t in his book? Do you think he’s sad because he only has one story in his book Mommy?” Asked the caring inquisitive little girl.
“No Honey,” she said. “He looks very happy sitting there reading his story in his book.”
“You sure Mommy? Because I can share my tablet with him if he finishes his story and has nothing else to read.”
“That’s very nice of you, sweetheart, but I am sure he will have another book to read when he finishes that one. Can I tell you a little secret about people with books?
“Oh yes, Mommy! Please do!” said the little girl who is thrilled to learn a secret about an adult in a very adult world.
“People like that gentleman over there, always have a lot of books to read. In fact, the more books they read, the bigger their pile of books to be read later gets to be.”
“That’s weird Mommy.”
“It’s the way of The Force.” Said the mother.
“The Force? What’s that, Mommy?”
“I’ll explain that as well when you are older.” She said.
It was at this time the nurse came out and said “Mr. Nickels?”
“Yes?” I said as I looked up and closed my book.
“The doctor will see you now.”
I get up out of my chair and start to follow the nurse into the doctor’s examination room, but before going back, I wink at a very inquisitive and very wide-eyed little girl who, for the very first time in her life, saw someone reading an actual book.