I bought a dictionary! This is no specialized dictionary. Just an ordinary English Language dictionary. Merriam-Webster to be exact. And…I’ve used it! I know there are free online dictionaries, but there’s just something about having a real one that is special.
I remember my parents had a few dictionaries, one for young children, one for older children and one that was much bigger and older than the other two. That one was my favorite. It had a few foreign languages translated in the back and a list of people’s names and their meanings, which I used to pick out a name for my pet rabbit. It was fun to pull this heavy volume on my lap and thumb through the thin pages, though I don’t remember consciously thinking so at the time. There must be a thing with kids heaving things twice their size around. Maybe it makes them feel bigger. In any case, now seemed like a good time to buy one for my own home.
Yes, yes I realize that the online dictionaries will update themselves while mine will eventually age and it is not easily portable if I go to a cafe or some place of the like to write. However, having it right next to me while I work at home is a comfort and actually more efficient than using an online dictionary. I don’t have to waste time switching back and forth between tabs, wait for pages to load and click to skip over ads. More importantly, I don’t have to think about my usage getting tracked online. About a year ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article about popular websites installing tracking cookies on users’ computers and selling personal data. Dictionary.com, which had been a favored site of mine, was the worst offender. Well, I stopped using that site. Unfortunately, the more computers are integrated into our lives, the more our lives become someone else’s business with a nice price tag to boot.
I’m not against anyone who wants to read all text digitally. If you want to save money by using free online resources, go ahead. If you like to save paper and read the news online, be my guest. If you want an e-reader, knock yourself out. However, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon so easily. All of those things can be used to track personal information and, although I’m sure there’s enough about me online than I’d care to admit, I don’t want to make it any easier for more to get out. So, in this digital day and age, I simply pull the big volume next to me and finger through the thin pages to find what I’m looking for and the only tracks left behind are my own pencil marks as I wipe cookie crumbs from my mouth.