My mother was right. She was talking about the Internet one day, about fifteen years ago. By then, the internet was becoming ubiquitous, seeping into almost every conversation. Not because people were necessarily talking about the Internet at the time, but because it was at the bottom of almost every topic. A bit like the weather. Now it’s more like oxygen. We are not even aware that we are using it.
After a chat between us about Some Online Thing, my mother sighed, “I have more hope of understanding the Mystery of the Trinity than understanding the Internet.” I was ready to jump in with, “No mom, you see it’s pretty simple. It’s just a computer network, and when you type an address into your web browser, it makes a request for the page, and then the information is routed through a messaging protocol…” My power went out, but I thought I knew how it worked. . . At the time I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t make an effort to find out what was going on.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it inevitably leans toward the young who eventually understand what their parents meant. And sure enough, these days I come across things that make me think, “I don’t even know if I know how little I know about that thing.” Things like NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Now they have begun to infiltrate the conversations. I begin to meet more people who understand it, but my brain refuses to make room for it, and I begin to wonder if I should start studying the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
I know a little. I know that cryptocurrency is not the money you have saved for a really expensive grave under a cathedral.
Oh,I know an NFT is digital proof that you own something digital like a video or picture of a cartoon monkey and yes someone else could still see the video and the monkey but when you own it you can change it and… .er…
But maybe it’s just because I’m not familiar with it. Isn’t all currency a bit weird when you think about it? The disgusting emergency five dollar bill in your pocket that no matter where you take it out in the European Union can get you a Snickers. And look, it’s not an NFT like having an original painting or an original Panini sticker from 1982. It all depends on what people are willing to pay.
But still, everything feels like another dimension. Alien. It just doesn’t stick in my brain.
However, it feels inevitable that he will have to stay. All This Crypto Stuff seems to be getting closer. Apparently the GAA is taking an interest in him. When I heard that, I was joking that maybe some Kilkenny pitcher would start a cryptocurrency called Mooncoin. But then it turns out they can’t because Mooncoin already exists. Now crypto stuff and NFTs can become a steaming pile of PooCoin or As common as the weather.
But I’m more interested in how easy it is, as time goes on, to get upset about something that doesn’t fit my current world view. When a new concept appears after I feel like I have found my place in the world, I immediately feel hostile towards it. “How dare the world invent new things without asking me?” My mother briefly flirted with the Internet but, in the end, she lives quite content without it. So when the crazy looking new yokes come along and you’re baffled, maybe I’ll do the same.