Brave New World

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I never pick up my flash drive without regarding it with a sense of awe. It stores most of my life’s works, and as such, holds a place of deep regard in my heart; mostly because my novels reside in this small wonder, but also because I have no idea what this piece of modern magic actually is. I barely know how to use it. Spin me around at the computer desk a couple of times and ask me how to negotiate my way to the core of this tiny genius, and I am lost. If the files at first don’t appear, there’s a keen moment of anxious panic: have the words been lost to some extraterrestrial form of life that has the power to pull the rabbit out of the hat, so to speak, and flush it down some cosmic drain I know not where? It’s entirely possible; remember, I have no understanding  of such an enigmatic device. I can’t open it, I can’t read it, and for the most part, even though I just call it “my stick” the words give it far less credence than my paranoid fears deserves. Because this pinkie sized pocket rocket has me quite simply in the palm of it’s hand. When the routine of daily life sometimes sees me putting the thing down, I occasionally forget where I have put it. I realise with a start that I took it from its tiny Mecca and put it somewhere safe…And like a mother in a shopping centre who has ‘misplaced’ her child, I tear through the corridors in silent dread, wondering where I have left the thing, only to find that it was safe and sound the whole time. Then there is the fear of leaving it in a pocket only to be washed in the washing machine, or just as bad, it falling into the bowels of the toilet…There are lots of mobile phone replacements, but I could never replace “my stick”. I know that it would be pertinent to navigate my way through the portals of computer intelligence just enough so that I could clone the contents of my flash drive – duplicate even – but I don’t like to upset the status quo, especially when there’s no teenager with painstaking patience to say, “Mum, all you have to do is this…” And I would entrust them with my stick, knowing that in this brave new world, a usb is a flash drive is a pen drive is a thumb drive, and that there is neither anything Godlike, intelligent or otherworldly in the device. It’s merely something they grew up with…

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