Danie Toerien
2 minute read
10 Apr 2018
9:15 am

Give me a book, any book – just not Facebook

Danie Toerien

Here's why I refuse to read another Facebook post in this lifetime.

When I was five years old, my mother took me to our local library in Krugersdorp. After the completion of the customary administrative tasks, I was duly inaugurated as a member of the reading community. It was the start of an adventure which has lasted my entire life.

Back then, every member of the library could take out two, three or four books for no longer than two weeks. I was restricted to two books due to my young age. My sister, three years my senior, was entitled to a third book.

As a member of the library in my own right, I thus joined my mother and sister on their fortnightly routine trips to the library. Every second Tuesday my mother plonked us onto the back seat of her VW Beetle and off we’d go.

Because I grew up in the era known as BC – that’s before computers – the library operated on a manual card system. I owned two cardboard sleeves, one for every book I was entitled to borrow. Every book had a card that fitted snugly into the sleeve. If I borrowed a book, the card and sleeve would remain at the library as proof of who took which book. On returning the books, the card would be placed back inside the book and my sleeves would be returned to me.

The library soon became somewhat of a haven for me. Later, in primary school, I spent afternoons there doing school tasks.

Well, a hop, skip and a jump later I now have a zero to go with my five – and I still love a book-filled space.

In fact, I love any space where words and sentences combine and conspire to transform the mind into an alternative reality.

The creative geniuses who conjure up dragons and princes and superheroes and war criminals using only black ink, white paper and the 26 letters of our alphabet fill me with awe.

Every good story has a twist or two – or a but. Here’s this story’s but: I cannot and will not read another Facebook post.

Never in the history of humankind has the alphabet been mutilated like on Facebook.

Here’s proof: “If your are looking for a homeschool tutor centre for you child. Contact us on …” I kid you not.

Danie Toerien

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