This morning, I received an email from a reader who was writing to inform me that a minor detail in my first Matt Davis mystery needed correcting. In As the Twig is Bent, I had set a scene at Ratner’s Deli in New York City, which described one of the detectives eating a hot pastrami sandwich. The reader informed me that Ratner’s Deli was a dairy deli that did not serve meat. He also mentioned that my detective could have obtained a delicious pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli on Houston Street, which just happened to be owned by his uncle, Harry Katz. I immediately replied to the email, expressing my appreciation, and then promptly made the change in the book’s file, which I then uploaded for publication. When I finished, I paused to reflect on how much change in our lives is so very constant (a bit oxymoronic, you might even say).
Have you ever considered how much change plays a part in your daily life? Take the simple television, for instance. Once, it only showed a black and white picture. Then, along came color. We used to change the channels by twisting a knob (some TVs had buttons that we pushed). We had to get up from our seat and walk across the room to change a channel. Today, we press a button on a remote control, or, with some very advanced models, we can speak a command to change channels. In the beginning, all TVs had “rabbit ear” antennas. Then, we got cable, and eventually satellite. It’s still TV, but it’s changed. The same can be said about automobiles, cameras (film to digital), airplanes, etc. They’ve all changed, and, in almost all cases, for the better.
I think the profundity of this concept first struck me many years ago when I was dusting some pictures in our living room. It occurred to me that we never have a current picture of a loved one, or any living creature, like a pet dog or cat. They are constantly changing, and the best we can hope for is to capture stages of their lives in photographs or videos. Family portraits have become a thing of the past. Think about it. It’s true.
Not all change is good, of course. The changes that have taken place in education, for instance, have been less than promising. Today’s colleges and universities are more concerned about their own self-preservation than they are about preparing young people to earn a living. The same could be argued about sports. Once viewed as a way to build character and engender a spirit of teamwork, their focus has changed to one of winning at all costs—often at the very expense of the high ideals they once fostered.
But we need not feel threatened by change. If we didn’t change and adapt, we’d stagnate and die. Without change, you would never be reading this blog post, nor would I be able to transmit it to you. And I would have had to spend hours, maybe days, making the suggested correction to my book, or worse yet, I might not have been able to change it at all. So don’t feel bad about change. Accept it. After all, change, no matter how much we may try to avoid it, is our one constant companion. Change is our friend.
Now go change those old pictures of your grandkids in your wallet . . . er . . . I mean on your smart phone. See what I mean?