“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”Henry Ford
Henry Ford also said a lot of things much more problematic than that particular quote, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s save that discussion for another day and focus on the learning and staying young stuff.
If learning is what keeps a person young, those of us here in the Rex household are about to start aging like Benjamin Button. Exhibit A: After a little hardware meltdown earlier this week, I learned more about computer repair than I ever wanted to. My PC wouldn’t start, and I decided, instead of taking it in for repairs, to just fix it myself. It took all afternoon, but in the end, I was successful. After fiddling with the hard drive, wiggling some cables, and chasing out the frightening large colony of dust bunnies that was nesting in the fans, I was rewarded with the old familiar chime of a successful boot. Sure, I had a handful of screws left over at the end of it, and the computer’s been making a really strange grinding noise ever since, but the important thing is that my computer is working again.
I’m not the only one around here learning new things, though. The whole family’s getting in on it lately. Boone, for example, is filling up his brain at breakneck speed. He’s begun walking (if you consider stumbling it across a room, mostly on two legs, with a minimum of falling on his face to be “walking,” but maybe I’m being too critical), and his vocabulary is growing by the day. He’s still got a long way to go, though. I’m not sure he’s fully grasp the concept of sentient vs. non-sentient, and spends an inordinate amount of his time lately having conversations with dolls, food, furniture, and thin air, but I’m sure that if he keeps at it, he’ll eventually figure out what can talk and what can’t. I have faith in him.
Byrd is, of course, learning a lot recently too, though her approach to education is taking a much more traditional path. She’s been doing quite well in school, bringing home report cards full of A’s and eliciting copious amounts of praise at parent-teacher conferences. It turns out that, despite my own complete failure at things academic, I am half-responsible for bring a model student into the world. I’m ridiculously proud of my girl, and could only be more impressed with her if she’d stop wearing that damned bear suit. Seriously, it’s starting to smell like someone jammed the contents an entire high school locker room into a towel, used that towel for a few years to swab moist hippo crotches at the local zoo, dragged it through a junkyard in the rain, and then buried someone with it. It’s bad. If that’s what it smells like on the outside, I don’t know how she can stand being on the inside. With any luck, she’ll come out of this phase soon, if only because she’s in dire need of oxygen.
Nalani’s been promoted at work again, and is officially a sous chef now. Those of us living under the Rex roof have known she was an all-star in the kitchen for years, but someone at her restaurant has finally noticed that she’s learned enough about cooking since they hired her to fill a cookbook library, and they’ve put her in charge of cooking pretty much everything. She just came home with the good news, and seeing that it also just happens to be her birthday, we’re going to celebrate in style. Nalani even baked herself a fancy cake for the occasion.
I hope Henry Ford was right, and that learning keeps a person young. Based on how much learning has been going on in this household, none of us may ever age again, which sounds like a great idea to me. On second thought, scratch that; I forgot we have a toddler in the house. If my desire to be immortal resulted in being cursed with having to change Boone’s diapers for the rest of eternity, I think I’d be looking for someone to drive a stake through my heart before the end of the decade.