Automatically, the title of this post makes me sound young to about half of you, and the other half of you haven't the foggiest idea what I'm talking about. My twelve-year-old cousin has a smartphone and knows--very thoroughly--how to use it, and just this year she took a coding class at school.
This is my concept of coding at school at 12 years old:
(notice it's not even coding)
(also notice the floppies)
But seriously. In middle school, I distinctly remember buying a floppy disk from the library for something absurd like fifteen cents. Which is amazing, because I'm pretty sure that nothing electronic exists these days that is fifteen cents. I remember buying said floppy disk so I could save my HyperStudio program on it. I remember thinking that HyperStudio was a really difficult program, and that I was the next computer genius for being able to combine two stacks together. (My friend Sheryl and I put together an AWESOME presentation about a potential trip we would take to Australia if we had $5,000, and the presentation had all sorts of fun things like buttons and sound effects and photos and probably other things too that I don't remember.) And then we did learn a little bit of coding, though I can't remember any more whether that coding was in HyperStudio or a different program.
I feel so aged now, though I work in a place where there are plenty of folks over the age of 40 who worked with 5" floppies, and to them, a 3 1/2" floppy drive is laughable as being considered old tech. I probably used floppies longer than most, because I loved how they worked. I loved how thin they were, how colorful they could be, how they were lightweight and I wouldn't notice them in my backpack but it wasn't so small that I would lose it in my bundle of stuff. I liked that I could slip it into a notebook, I liked that it was a square. I liked how the thin hard plastic felt between my fingers, how I could flip it side-to-side out of habit and it was sturdy, the information was still there. I liked how it was sleek and easy-to-use. I liked the little slide-y metal thing at the bottom, which I told my friend Julie would erase everything on the disk with one swipe (hoping that I was actually correct that it wouldn't and that it wasn't some sort of feature I just didn't know about), which she then was very careful with for about thirty seconds and then promptly swiped.
My favorite part of floppies, though, was that they held my writing.
Few people have read my first book (and for good reason: it was terrible, though this is [hopefully] mostly because it took me eight years to write it--from seventh grade through my second year of undergrad), but this floppy held the beginnings of it. It was beautiful, it was glorious, and what was previously handwritten in my choir notebook was word-processed and saved on that thin piece of plastic and I could put it into any computer I liked and it would be there. I felt so important, taking my writing from place to place with me, taking my book. I loved it.
I had exactly one bad experience:
I am forever in search of one floppy that contains the never-before-seen (because I wrote it and never got a chance to read it again) ending to my famed fifth-grade story, "The Graveyard Playground," which may or may not have been a blatant rip-off of Wayside School is Falling Down. I keep my eyes open for this floppy to this day, even though I am not in possession of anything that would be able to read it. One day, I will find this floppy. Until then, "The Graveyard Playground" is always unfinished, because it doesn't exist. My floppy stole it away.
It amazes me that this icon is so prevalent in our modern world--the Save icons in countless popular programs Most kids today might only recognize it as vaguely familiar, as an old relic of the past their grandparents used to use, like the iPhone 1 or the 8-track tape or the gramophone. In some ways, this makes me feel special, like I have a secret weapon my kids will never interact with. I feel like I know about something they don't know about. It's our secret, it's our bond, the 3 1/2 floppy and me.
Can't wait to see what future generations think of the 64-MB USB drive. Props to my cousin, though.
PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST
Blog not recommended for sober consumption.