If I was a young man…

Dah dah deedle deedle … no, that’s “rich,” and that’s a whole ‘nuther topic.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and maybe it’s time to set some halfbaked thoughts down in a post:

What if I was, say, half my age at this point (that is, 30 years old)–possibly four to six years out of library school (let’s assume further that I had the sense to go get that MLS while the getting was good, before I’d become hopeless as a student), probably in a “techie librarian” position, probably just starting to do a little professional activity and formal writing? Where would I stand on some of the current “generational” controversies and other stuff?

Since I had worked in three or four programming languages (Assembler, COBOL, PL/I, and the “language” used to program an IBM 188 collator via patchcords) by the time I was 30, and had done some moderately large and fairly small applications, it’s fair to assume that I’d probably be up to speed in C++, PERL, and other appropriate languages and techniques for today’s applications. I was a pretty good analyst and programmer then (and I’m still a pretty good analyst), so I’d probably be a pretty good analyst and programmer–but with an entirely different toolkit.

It’s also fair to assume that I’d be enthusiastic about web services and social software, that I’d believe that pretty much anything could be done quickly and easily with the right combination of tools–and that I’d be mighty impatient of those who weren’t ready to see rapid change.

I’d probably have a blog. It probably wouldn’t look much like this one. I can’t imagine that I’d do anything as peculiar as Cites & Insights–but then, I was never known for my vivid imagination.

I’d like to believe that I wouldn’t regard all of the previous generation as Luddite old fools only suitable for typing catalog cards and resisting change, wishing they’d all retire so that we could take over (and no, I’m not going to link to that particular blog, thank you kindly), but I’d probably hold some extreme opinions and might be brave enough to say some of them, doubtless including absurd overgeneralizations. (Gen-gen is not the exclusive property of any generation.)

I doubt that I’d be on the speaking circuit. I was shy at 30; I’m shy at 60 (but compensate); I’d be shy if I was 30 in 2006. And, frankly, I’m not sure that I’d be the kind of thought leader who would be worth hearing. I wasn’t a young lion back then; I doubt that I’d be one now.

None of this makes much sense: There’s no way to predict how I’d cope with today’s world at that age, and I wouldn’t really trade in the last 30 years if the chance arose. Thinking about it makes me a little more cognizant that some attitudes I may find a little brash, a little extreme, a little..well, those might be exactly the attitudes I’d have if I was that age. And maybe I’d be right.

Neither am I saying that age brings wisdom, at least in my case. I’m a lot more experienced than I was at 30. Does that mean I’m wiser? Let’s just say I’m a lot more experienced and let it go at that.

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