Have you ever had a slightly mad relative? I used to have an aunt who regularly posted me Easter eggs wrapped in a single layer of brown paper. Most of the egg was delivered inside the postman’s stomach and writing thank you letters became a bit of a laugh, albeit a repetitive one.
One birthday, I received the Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology. A valuable learning aid for a growing lad of 11 years. But I only got Volume 2 (L to Z) and since 1975 I have been waiting for Volume 1 (A to K) – I can only presume that the postman ate that too. If there is anyone out there who has only the primary volume and fancies getting together for dinner to exchange notes, please let me know at mail @ this domain.
It’s difficult to imagine that 1975, although well within my lifetime, was ages before the PC was invented. So I thought it would be fun to look up a few key definitions. I searched for “Computer” – D’Oh, that’s in Volume 1! Microprocessor? No definition. Personal Computer? No. Mainframe? Silicon chip? Walkman? Mother board? All no. Read Only Memory? Oh hang on yes! A fast access store containing fixed data. So computing existed!
I feel a bit like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes. Landing on another planet only to discover that I was actually at home, and realising that man was to blame all along. I am clearly missing the chiselled jaw and muscular tanned physique, although in common with Charlton’s astronaut character, George Taylor, I suspect that a number of apes probably do fancy me.
Looking further into the New York subway and finding the Statue of Liberty must have been scary. But searching the pages of the Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology 33 years after it was published was worse than my first encounter with a Dalek. Hide behind the sofa quick!