July 19, 2007

Time Changes All Things

Posted in Commentary at 8:14 am by Michael Sweeney Media

Agent Smith: You hear that Mr. Anderson?… That is the sound of inevitability.

Indeed, Agent Smith for all his faults definitely had the right idea about time and inevitability. Time is inevitable and the change that comes with it even more so no matter how much we kick, scratch, fight and wail about it. Things begin and things end. I have been reminded of this more so of late with the the new and final Harry Potter book coming out. My oldest daughter who has pretty much grown up on Harry Potter complete with wall posters and a bit of a crush on Harry himself is now almost 19 years old. And this last book is the time where she will not be in costume or at the store at midnight to get her copy of HP. Her life is too busy in her mind and she is too grown up to be part of such things, not that she will not read the book, she ordered from Amazon and so she will close out that chapter. I watched as she started the adventure down the road of Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s world of magic, wizards, gold, wands and the classic battle between good and evil. We started the journey by reading the book out loud on our week jaunts into the city which took a few hours each way and after about half of the first book, she asked for her own copy to read. So her first real book was HP and she read the entire book, cover to cover several times. On book two she was beside herself that the UK was going to get it a whole year before we would in the states. But Dad (me) being relatively clever at times, order it up via Amazon.uk and had it airmailed to us. And it was better in a way because they had not altered it to “American” english, it had the full flavor of the English humor and dryness.

We went on the ride with each book and for each book came the midnight opening of the book stores, the frantic calls to friends of who was going to be there, the making of costumes, the arguments over plot points and my bringing home made popcorn for her in line one night. I knew this time would be different when I could not get a straight answer months ago if she had ordered her copy. And so my little girl has grown up one book too soon.

I wonder if my other three daughters which are much younger will have the same experience of a captivating story to enjoy and live in for a while. If would be shame if the naysayers were right in their argument that books are dying and that story telling is a dead art form in the age of the internet. I would hope that HP is not the last hurrah for serial stories like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and other fantasy tales that one can lose themselves in for a brief time and be part of an epic quest.

In the same thinking, other aspects in my world are changing yet again. A very close relative is dying, well, we are all dying at different rates but she was just told that she has roughly four weeks to put her affairs in order. Maybe a bit more with chemo but chemo is nasty business and sometimes I think it would be kinder just to let the person fade out on their own and not dying by being poisoned. I watched a close friend die from cancer and it’s my personal belief that the chemo ended up killing him much more quickly than the cancer would have if they had left it alone. His last days were just misery and almost as hard for us watching helplessly. Time marches on and things constantly change but not always in the ways we wish.

There has been much discussion lately of Apple without Steve Jobs at the head and how could it possibly survive. Just like any family, it will survive but it will be painful for us all. Steve is unique and a true visionary but he is not irreplaceable. Nobody is irreplaceable and sometimes people forget that truth. It may be a painful transition or not but it will be a transition and I suspect that Steve, not being a fool, knows this and has put plans in place for this event.

But like Neo, we will fight against the inevitability because it is our way, it is burned into our DNA to fight against it and it makes us better and stronger in the end. In the very end when it is all said and done, it is our choice how to face inevitability.

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