The Obsolete Man

Burgess_Meredith_The_Twilight_Zone_1961“The Obsolete Man” is a classic episode of The Twilight Zone in which a future totalitarian society puts librarian Romney Wordsworth (portrayed by Burgess Meredith) on trial for the crime of being obsolete. The State has declared books and literature to be illegal, hence his obsolescence. He also believes in God, which is punishable by death.

(Side note: if I used a pen name, I think it would be “Romney Wordsworth” because that is the coolest book-related name I’ve ever heard.)

A while back I read “21 Obsolete Household Items That We All Had 10 Years Ago” and it made me feel a little bit like Wordsworth because I still use several of the “obsolete” things on the list. Daily.

Several items on the list definitely belong there. My house doesn’t contain a single incandescent light bulb. I’ve never had a fax machine. And a Rolodex? Please. But I earn my obsolescence by possessing and using each of the following items.

Desktop Computers
I have a laptop but I use it sparingly. I much prefer my desktop PC. My laptop doesn’t have my Das Keyboard, for one. And my terrible eyes much prefer my two humungous screens instead of a single laptop one. One day I will have three screens. And then one day after that I’ll have more screens than Batman at the end of The Dark Knight when he scans every cell phone in Gotham to find the Joker.


Home Phone
I only got a mobile phone when my day job insisted I have one. I still use and prefer a good landline to any cellular connection. Though I prefer texting or email over any kind of voice conversation because introvert.

Paper Shredder
Any piece of junk mail that comes to my house with my name and address on it doesn’t get thrown away, it gets shredded. I don’t know who’s going to pull that credit card application I never asked for out of the garbage and use it. It’s like Kurt Cobain once said, “Just because you’re paranoid / Don’t mean they’re not after you.”

China Cabinet
OK so this is a bit of a cheat because I don’t have a China cabinet. Yet. But my beloved Rose wants one and someday, we will have one. Because there is still a place in the world for fancy-schmancy dinners in which you can pretend you’re living in a Jane Austen book.

Oh, and you’ll pry my Drip Coffee Maker out of my groggy, oblivious, decaffeinated fingers.

I guess all of this means I’m pretty obsolete, like Romney Wordsworth. I can live with that. If I’m going to be one of Burgess Meredith’s Twilight Zone characters, better Romney Wordsworth than Henry Bemis. I can’t see anything without my glasses.

Tell me what makes you obsolete in the comments.

One thought on “The Obsolete Man

  1. I have a huge personal library. I would love to give books to my great-nieces. They don’t read. Oh, they say they do, but they haven’t read the books I gave them four years ago.

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