Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oral Tradition Where Have You Gone

I am confused, conflicted and confounded. Nothing unusual. 

So, how are you? Yes, I know I've been away for a while. I was put in time out. Why? Oh, talking in class, passing notes, spending too much time daydreaming. Daydreaming about the future of communication in the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates world we live in. That's why I failed the 68th grade this year. I don't know how to save, store, retrieve, archive, powerpoint. spreadsheet, and give every appearance of not of not giving a flying rats ass. The mark of death in the educational system of today. I should have started tracking to be a bum when I was 6. That would have passed me with flying colors this year.

So, here's the deal. This morning I woke up and looked out the window to see a small buck standing 5 feet from the bedroom window picking up the meager supply of acorns (mast, for those who  hunt). I thought it unusual enough to retell this small vignette to you, dear reader. I also told several  people down at Danielsville Hardware, the competitive hardware outlet to the one I worked for. It's a more "gossipy" sorta' place than ACE Hardware. 

One young man, obviously not in school today, opr caring,  immediately asked if he could sleep at my house Fri night, as Sat is the first day of bow season. One of  the "oldtimers" made the comment they ain't many acorns this fall, others commented on how many deer there were this year, still others said they remembered when you couldn't find a deer below the mountains of North Georgia. 

This conversation over to a simple spoken word paragraph...a story of little magnitude in the world of high tech. This story will die at the hardware. It won't hit facebook, it will not be Tweeted, and probably never retrieved, or archived, or printed...but it might be repeated a few times 'cause it's getting close to deer season in Georgia...almost as popular a sport as UGA football. 

Now this: If all of mankind is taking pictures, Facebooking, Tweeting, Yelping, Squalling, Howling or whatever else under God's sun we are touting as the next BIG new thing. Who is going to remember all this stuff, and pass it on...and who will be there that might want to listen to someone "read a story with their mouth" as Jacob used to ask me to do.

Oral Tradition is dead, folks. The age of Digital Tradition has replaced it. My dear Sainted Mother recently said she had never seen a picture of her newest great great grandchild, although thousands have been Facebooked, etc. No hard copy exists of a picture to show a 96 year old.  It would take a microscope to see the screens of the newest "devices". so, no hard copy "paper trail" exists in today world...other than on the DEVICE.

No more will people tell Brer Rabbit stories, or Jack Tales. Oh, you'll be able to read one or listen to one on your "device". But the passing of information orally is on it's way out...and what's worse, the ability to listen and comprehend is close behind.

Why am I telling you this? 'Cause all ya'll are a long way off, and ain't from around here, and I'm too lazy to write a letter explaining why you should care about oral tradition that is not copyrighted ad nauseum,  Disneyfied, PGed, Politically Corrected to the enth percent.

I got a  letter from someone just last week! Glenn Carson wrote a long note on one of his famous fish cards. (poor sod, he's eat up with fishing, engraving stuff and building banjos) I was overjoyed to get a "recreational" letter in real, but unpracticed hand. Thanks, Glenn. I called him on my cell phone to thank him and promised him a letter back...

Hold your breath, I might just write one to you...if you promise to keep telling your stories to each other. 

Try to tell your kid a story tonight, even if it's Little Red Riding Hood, if you remember it, and if you make it up, it might be better than the original, and the kid'll go to sleep out of fascination...or reprimand you for not telling the Disney version.


  1. When my boys were young, "near 40 year ago," I used to take Dr Seuss stories or whatever book I was reading to them and just flat make up parts to amuse myself. They liked it, but their Momma would often give me the "eye roll" of disapproval. <bb

    1. come to the North Georgia Folk Festival...I assure you the eye roll will be prevalent...and Norman Blake and his lovely wife will be of there few concerts this year.