I Have A Premonition

Norman Bacal

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Keeping up with technological progress is one of my great challenges. Keeping my brain active is another.

Let’s begin with the positive. Are you the type that has clung to the paper format of reading books? I made the switch to electronic books a number of years ago, though give me a beach and a sunny day and I can only read on paper.

I try the iPad from time to time. Not a great idea. First I have to remove my sunglasses and squint. Then the glare off the screen makes it impossible; or the iPad overheats and shuts down, leaving me no alternative but to take a nap with my SPF 30 and a hat.

I never worry about going out in the pool with one of those rubber dingies and a much-read paperback. If I doze off and drop it in the water I don’t have to kick myself over being the idiot who drowned his e-reader. No amount of rice in a bowl is going to save that sucker, and I’m certain the manufacturer’s warranty (which I have never read) specifically excludes being that much of a moron.

I may be very uncomfortable with the Metaverse, as I’m still not quite sure what it is. And Blockchain, don’t get me started on how little I understand; and I’ve had it explained to me at least half a dozen times.

My close friend’s son just gave a conference on the subject in Davos, the city in Switzerland where they hold the world economic summit—a sign of Blockchain’s growing importance in the world—but I confess that it’s all leaving me behind.

I have memories of my mother looking at our first color television and calling me every time the antenna and later the cable gave her fits. I could not have been more than twelve but I was the in-home tech expert. I was a wizard with connection issues. But now….I understand how my mother (now turning 90) felt.

Which brings me back to books. I probably read twenty books a year, but if you ask me at any moment what I’m reading, I don’t ever remember the title. The comforting thing about real books is that you are forced to look at the cover (back or front) every time you pick it up. By the time you’re done there is no issue about remembering the title or the author.

But e-books…. I just pick them up where I left off. The first and last time I see author and title is when I download it. I’ve traded that in for the satisfaction of being able to look up the meaning of the words I don’t understand at the click of a mouse. In my paper book days, I used to tell myself I would look the word up later—I never did.

This morning I was in the dog park with a nice British fellow. I still hadn’t learned his name, though I know his dog very well. We were talking about Michael Lewis and after we shared raves about many of his books, in particular The Fifth Risk, he asked me if I had read Premonition, his latest book.

“What’s it about?” I asked.

“The current pandemic. It’s the book with the yellow cover.” He went on to talk about how well the author sets the stage for America’s reaction to COVID.

At that point I began my internal cringe of shame. I had vague recollections about something yellow… until it clicked. That is the very book I am one third of the way through. I had no idea of its title. I downloaded it from the library about a week ago. All I knew is that it was Michael Lewis’s pandemic book.

I finally had to interrupt him and admit I was partly through, mostly so that he wouldn’t spoil the ending. I’m guessing that the team he is writing about in Chapter 5 will teach a thing or two to the CDC, save the US from COVID, and get Joe Biden re-elected president.

Of course at this stage of my life, knowing these details is no guarantee that I will remember them when I need to drag them out and show off. I used to be a home Jeopardy star. Now I have to pause the DVR after the question gets asked so I can bring the answer forward from the back of my head to the tip of my tongue, where it sits until the moment I hit “play” and say, “Oh heck, I knew that.”

My memories are all there, it’s just that I’m having trouble retrieving them from the filing cabinet in my head. That is the way one brain researcher explained it to me years ago, when I was certain this would never happen to me.

As for my book recommendations for the summer, you should really pick up the latest mystery by what’s her name or the unbelievable tell all by that Hollywood actor Johnny….you know the guy who played the evil character in the latest superhero movie. It might have been The Batman or…..

I have a premonition that you can find what you want to read next without my assistance.

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel


Norman Bacal

Norman Bacal is an accomplished best-selling author. After practicing law for over 35 years, Norman shifted to writing, where he has now published numerous books across fiction and non-fiction.

A proud father of four and grandfather of six, Norman enjoys spending free time playing golf and bridge.

He resides in Toronto, Canada.

Visit Norman's Official Website