Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Hippopotamus

It's a book by Stephen Fry that I picked up from the library - and they want it back. But my partner hasn't finished it yet. But that's alright because it turns out to be on my bookshelf too. A paperback I bought in 1995 for $5.99. I must have read it because the spine shows that. When I read it recently only one thing struck me as familiar. A passage that speaks of someone using a computer to write something "in quotation marks" that get put in the right way round. Annoyingly, in Blogger's editor, while the commas get curves, quote marks don't. Anymore than apostrophes do. But that was something that had stuck in my mind since Stephen Fry has used it more than once: the pleased smile that arrives on the face of someone who suddenly realizes that there is some benefit of "word processing" that had previously not occurred to them. Unless that was Douglas Adams.  

At first I found this lapse embarrassing evidence of memory loss, but I ought to be used to that by now. It is not an indication of senility, but it is a fact of aging. As someone once explained to me it's like having a hard drive that is full. (Or as my partner says: "Things just fall out of your ears as there is no more room in your brain for them.") The only way you can get more onto your hard drive/memory is overwriting what is already there. So you need to have a notebook or diary handy to jot things down so you won't "forget" them. I think that is one of the reasons that I like blogs and flickr. I can refresh memories, and put dates and locations to them.
The book has now been turned into a movie which I haven't seen yet, but I would urge you to read the book first before you do. Someone convinced me once to read "Sophie's Choice" before we saw the movie and I am glad she did. No matter how good the movie, the experience of reading the book is somehow better.