Apocalypse Problems: The E-Reader


Not sure about you guys, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower. Waking up is my least favorite part of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love waking up because it means I’m not dead, but the struggle to remove my body from my bed is real. The walk to my bathroom is reminiscent to any desert scene in any movie ever, and I guess the outcome is the same too because I’m searching for water. Once I step into the embracing blanket of hot water I usually let my mind wander, and sometimes come up with some really good gems. Or, more often than not, I think of things I haven’t done at work yet and get sort of stressed. That was not the case this morning. This morning I had an idea for a new reoccurring column, and I’m kind of excited about it. [Author’s Note: No it is not my fault that you pictured me naked while reading that last paragraph. That falls on the reader considering I did not mention my attire once. Pervs… but on more serious note what did you think? Looked pretty good didn’t I… Stop it! There’s a good chance my mother is reading this. Shame!]

First off I suppose it’s important to explain to you guys that I’m an apocalypse junkie. There is just something about a story that takes place during the apocalypse that really gets the blood flowing. I don’t know if it’s the desolation and bleakness of the environment or how the environment effects the people in it, but either way I dig it. Now I guess the next appropriate question is what is my favorite apocalypse, and if you put a gun to my head I’d say zombie. This doesn’t mean that I’m not partial to natural disaster or World War III apocalypses either. Oooooooh who could forget world virus apocalypses (like The Stand) or robot apocalypse (like The Matrix). That’s the problem. There are just too many scenarios to choose from. I think what has me most fascinated about the apocalypse is that it seems sort of possible, right? I could totally see something like that happening in my life time, plus it’s fun to try and figure out how long I would survive. I think I could make it pretty far, but there is a self sacrificing death in my future. It would be totally epic, and if it was a movie scene it would totally have the best part of the score. People would applaud my heroics and leave saying “you know when the apocalypse comes, that’s how I want to go out.” Oh to dream.

Whilst showering this morning I started thinking about the apocalypse, like most grown men in their thirties do, and thought about what would be the suckiest part. Last night I had to charge my kindle (who I have named Gandalf the Kindle and we have had tremendous adventures together. I’m serious. When I download a book from Amazon and they ask where to send it, one of my options is Gandalf the Kindle. So awesome.), and I started to think… I couldn’t charge my kindle if the apocalypse was going down. How would I read?!

I know you’re thinking, “Kevin. Books. You would read actual books.”, and of course you’re right but hear me out. I fought getting a kindle for the longest time (insert Billy Joel song here) because my love for physical books was fierce. It’s everything about them. The feel, the smell, the way the pages make that swishing noise when you turn them, the cracking in the spine, it’s aura. A physical book carries weight and shouts out to you. “Hey! I’m your tour guide. Your doorway to adventure. Your dungeon master. Your friend. Pick me up. Let’s do this.” That’s everything I love about books. Sometimes when I have a book I particularly love, and in some cases even the ones I don’t love, I bite it. I don’t know why. It’s just this thing I’ve done forever. I don’t mean bite like a savage and rip pages out of it, but there’s this need to consume it or validate it’s realness. Not like the Red Dragon where the Tooth Fairy eats the painting to consume it’s power. Just a bite to let me know it’s real. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever confessed to that before. Moving on.

The weight of the book is it’s highest selling point for me but also turned into it’s lowest non selling point. There was a stretch of time where I moved quite a bit, and I have tons of books that are now just filling up crates. The cold, hard, simple truth of the matter is moving books is a bitch. Outside of my kitchen table, books are my least favorite things to move. So after I moved for the fourth or fifth time in the span of three years, getting a kindle seemed like a logical step.

Of course there was an adjustment period, same problem I had with the ipod, but you get over it. The kindle is so portable and easy to take with you, and has all of your friends tucked into it. Not just one book but all the books right there. If you’re like me and take your kindle everywhere (you never know when a three hour traffic jam is going to break out), then you know you’re bringing some of your closest friends with you every where you go. That concept is so exciting it’s almost hard for me to wrap my head around. All. The. Books. Right there. And it’s so easy to lift. It’s like magic in every sense of the word.

So now we go back to my shower, and I’m probably rinsing my hair. I once heard that you don’t have to wash your hair every day, but that sounds nasty. I wash my hair every day. That’s probably why most of it is currently grey. I’m thinking about Gandalf the Kindle and how I need to unplug him and pack him up to take to work with me. And that’s where it strikes me. Say if the apocalypse was to bust out on my way to work. I’m driving, I’m on the highway and BOOM apocalypse. Lucky for me I’ve been prepping for this moment all my life and I’m able to get off the road and safely stash myself out of harms way. Of course I’ve brought Gandalf the Kindle with me, and he’s fully charged. Phew. But then panic start to set in. That charge should only last me a month. Then Gandalf the Kindle will become Gandalf the Kindle That Won’t Turn On. All those books gone. Gone.

And that my friends is an Apocalypse Problem. Obviously I’m not just going to abandon Gandalf the Kindle, but the chances of me finding an energy source to charge him again is pretty slim. Not to mention the whole interwebs will collapse once the apocalypse hits so there’s no way to download new books. All of a sudden things are starting to suck here and that self sacrificing death is looking pretty good. Now I suppose you can pick up books as you travel from burnt down town to burnt down town. But this brings back the books are heavy and a bitch to move issue. During the apocalypse you have to pack lightly, just the essentials, and I need extra room for Hudson the Cat, and that’s why a kindle works so perfectly. I suppose you can carry one book at a time and then leave it somewhere after your finished. Honestly that idea is kind of romantic in nature. Picture leaving a book behind and some other survivor in their most desperate hour stumbling upon it. That book could save their life. But what if it was a really good book? One worthy of reading over again. If I left it behind because I couldn’t carry it, can I honestly expect to find it again on my travels? The idea of needing to read a book and having no access to it is almost as terrifying as the whole end of the world thing.

Here’s hoping Amazon invents a kindle with an apocalypse option built into it. Something like forever battery. Kind of like Airplane mode but the icon would be an explosion or a zombie. Once you push it you activate forever battery. Maybe I should send that to their suggestion box. You know… just to air on the side of caution.

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