My wife is not a robot

robot-1214536_960_720According to a recent article, about a fourth of young adults in the United Kingdom would be happy to date a robot.

This is a sad statistic coming from the nation that gave the world Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and the Beatles.  But perhaps that is where society is headed.

Having spent a bit of time in the UK, I expect there are many young people who look around at the eligible people to date and conclude that a robot would be an improvement.  But the survey says these folks won’t settle for just any robot – it has to be a “perfect match” and look like a regular human being.

I expect then young men stipulate those conditions they are visualizing something like Ava in the rather disturbing 2015 movie Ex Machina.  But I expect most robots will look more like a bucket of bolts than actress Alicia Vikander.

And even if you could get an Ava, it couldn’t be a perfect match; it would be a robot, a machine, a non-human.

More than four decades ago, I married a beautiful young woman.  She was exciting, funny, smart, clever and, well, made me feel wonderfully romantic.  Together, we have struggled through the good times and bad times that any couple faces, made a home, raised children, cared for failing parents and sacrificed to make ends meet.

If you look at a picture from our wedding you would, objectively speaking, realize that 40 years of living ages humans (even if you exercise and eat your vegetables).  But when I look at my wife, hold her hand and talk with her, I feel as wonderfully romantic as I did those many years ago.

My wife isn’t a perfect machine.  Like me, she is an imperfect human being.  We’re perfect for each other.

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By the book

Mechelen_OLV_over_de_Dijle_Roman_MissalEvery few weeks I get an email from my local public library.

It is a reminder that the library is one of the categories on my property-tax bill.  Like most of the other categories, I have a sense that I pay for more than I get in return.

Ah…I have such fond memories of my college library.  Many floors of row after row of books.  The musty scent of yellowing paper, old leather bindings, millions of pages with imprints created by lead type.

The library emails usually don’t mention books.  There are features about new online resources (most of which I can access from my home computer).  There are features about how to enjoy various video streaming services (I likely can learn more from the teenager working at the local electronics store).  And there are promotions for various library events and exhibits.

Being a member of the pre-tablet, pre-cell-phone, pre-personal-computer generation, I continue to stubbornly believe that a library should be all about books.  Well, maybe a few movies and recordings, but mostly books.

Also, the library is going high tech and digital, like more everywhere else in the world.

But I have high hopes that one bastion of the noble book will remain forever sacrosanct:  The altar of the Catholic Church.

I’ll all for the fanciest, biggest, heaviest, oldest lectionary that the craftsman can create.  I’m talking leather binding, parchment pages, heavy ink with an old typeface, illuminations, etchings, golf leaf, silk page markers and, perhaps, a few jewels on the cover.

I don’t want a practical book on the altar; I want a work of art.  Maybe the library is losing its books, but I have faith my Church will hang onto its book.