As a child, I was the human internet.
Mr. Hall and my father would often meet for cocktails in a comfortable corner of the family room and discuss things that men would discuss in 1971. These were the days of Scotch on the rocks, cigarettes, and no seat belts. My father, the plumber, and Mr. Hall, the lawyer, would sometimes need a judgement on some point of fact —and that’s when they would send me to the encyclopedia.
I loved being their research department and would dig into the books, ferreting out answers to their questions. Whether it be figuring out who was Woodrow Wilson’s vice president (Thomas R. Marshall) or determining the national currency of Belgium (Belgian franc), I would promptly return and report my findings. When you’re ten, this is the sort of thing that makes you feel important and useful.
Maybe I wasn’t as as fast as the internet, but I was reliable. Unless you have dial-up —then I was as fast as the internet.