Bonus Column | by Aidan Morgan
In this modern age, it’s hard to know truth from lies, plaids from checks, cow hearts from human. But we can all agree that some things are new and others are old. If you’re not sure what’s old, try my online course some time at thingsofold.com. It’s full of things that are young (YouTube, people who make a living off YouTube) and things that are young’s dry and flaking opposite.
Uh, let’s see. Dinosaurs. Ever wonder why dinosaurs are so scaly, despite their rigorous skin care routines? The youngest is at least 66 million years old. Some of them throw on feathers every morning in a vain attempt to cover up their epoch-spanning bodies.
Mind you, dinosaurs aren’t as old as Jon Bon Jovi. Everyone loves handsome woodworker and tank-topper songster Jon Bon Jovi, who rocked our world once upon an ’80s. If you meet Bon Jovi, tell him the kids refer to him as “Bonbon Jon”. He’ll believe you. Know why? He’s old.
Which brings me to landlines, the most Cronenbergian of communications devices (also the only known way of contacting Jon Bon Jovi). You’re at grandma’s house and you have to answer the phone. Is the handset the phone? Is it that weird squat body whose only purpose is to host a dial or a grid of buttons? What about the cord that snakes into the wall? Is it the line that burrows through the house, travels through the air for miles on poles and nests at some giant exchange somewhere? Gross. That phone’s old.
Sometimes things that appear incredibly young are so old as to seem downright eldritch. Babies, for example. I know what you’re going to say: babies are young. If that’s the case, try and remember what it was like being a baby. You can’t. It was too long ago. Your baby self is super old.
Then again, sometimes the things you’ve always suspected of being old turn out to be as ancient as you expected, like Charlemagne. Not only is Charlemagne dead, he was born so long ago that surnames hadn’t even been invented. Nowadays he’d be Charlemagne Jones or Charlemagne Voigt-Ostrogoth or something.
You think Charlemagne is old. But how about the truth? Yeah, I went there. BOOM. You didn’t see that coming, did you? I lulled you into complacency with my ridiculous list and dropped some truth on you at the last moment. The good news is that truth is old, so just ignore it.
But that’s not the oldest thing in the room. No, the oldest thing going is the intangible yet majestic heritage in which the ongoing story of humanity is smelted to forge a blade that clears a path for the future. Nah, it’s you. You’re old. You’re holding a print newspaper in your cerement-swathed hands right now, you ghastly old-media mummy. Go back to your pyramid and complain some more about the price of a country skillet at Smitty’s.