I frankly didn’t know this column title was a word, until….  My bestie gave to me two books about words, among other thoughtful gifts last Christmas.  She knows me so well.  One of the books introduced to me the word, edutainment.

All I can say about those two books about words is – watch out folks.  I’ve just been charged up.  New words are my version of an EV (electric vehicle), and I’ve just been plugged in.   I thusly don’t think I’ll ever be short on ideas for columns.

Edutainment is obviously a new word which combines the words education and entertainment; which is in itself called a portmanteau, a lovely word, don’t you think?  Now that I’ve been so enlightened by this one word, edutainment, I think my entire column should be so entitled.

Besides spewing what spills out of my brain each week, I think there is a twinkle of a goal to both entertain readers of said column, and educate or prevent you all from making the same mistakes I’ve made, or feeling bad about making them.  This is pure edutainment.

The thing about education is, it’s tumbling and compounding.  You learn one thing and it tumbles into another thing, and another, and another.  As En Vogue sang in 1992, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”  Observations of people and the compounding generalizations we make, drawn from life experiences, is what we in our household used to call edumacation.

As to entertainment, I hope to amuse you, divert your attention from the usual, and perhaps occupy your mind agreeably for just a moment of your day.  It would honor my dad’s storytelling legacy if I were to elicit a giggle, a chuckle, even an occasional snort, when you read these articles.

Thus, you may now refer to this, my one hundred fiftieth column, as Bev’s Weekly Edutainment, or not.  You may truly do what you want with the words that I heave in your direction each week.  Of course, I’m assuming that at least everybody in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, if not the world, via Facebook “shares” on the Internet, reads my column.

I’m not much of a follower.  I’m more likely the one over to the left or the right of the pack, daydreaming and meandering around thoughts and ideas, completely oblivious to who everybody else is following.

Social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), is overflowing with people accumulating friends and followers, like possessions.   On these platforms, we share our accomplishments, best selfies, information, marketing, and some sadness with the occasional obituary or prayer request.  A simple life with a few face-to-face friends, is on the downswing, in favor of amassing unknown and distant followers and admirers.  It’s no longer the twentieth century, Dorothy.

It used to be that just Jesus had followers.  But now it’s the goal of every Brittany Ann from Butte, and Kelsey from Kansas or Lily from Los Angeles to acquire followers.  This is usually on Twitter, on which I rarely post, or Instagram, which used to be a medium for photographs, but is now a popularity contest, and I have a few followers.  I follow no one.

If “influencers,” like the Brittany’s, Kelsey’s and Lily’s of the world, can accumulate followers in the millions, they’ve arrived.  Arrived where?  Fame or better yet, celebrity.  It’s not unheard of for a little one these days to answer,” famous,” when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

I read that to be famous or a celebrity is to be familiar to throngs, but without proximity.  We think we “know” celebrities because of this interview, that story, and their images pasted at billboard size all over the place.  But they do not know us from Adam.  There is no reciprocity in celebrity.

I guess I’m not that interested in being famous. I’m not at all enamored with the accumulation of followers or mounting up humongous numbers of friends on social media.  I will never know millions of people in person, and that’s fine with me.  I can barely keep up with the few intimates, friends, and acquaintances I have in my life, now.

About information and education, the Internet was created to distribute information about everything, everywhere.  I think Amazon created its business model to mimic the world wide web.  Everything for everybody, all in one place.  So much information.

I wonder, is information the same as education, or knowledge, for that matter?  And, when does knowledge spill over to wisdom, or understanding?

Education is supposed to grow us into adults capable of functioning in the world around us, hopefully as contributors to a better world.  Having been so schooled, we are intended to walk the earth aware, prepared, discerning, enlightened, and more intelligent than when we were youngsters.

I received a liberal arts education, which supposedly, well, it did, broaden my understanding of a breadth and depth of information.  Brain science tells us that we retain only a fraction of all the knowledge presented to us.

However, all that information combined with experiences lived, might blessedly turn into something akin to wisdom.  I hope my words set into this format each week, contribute to your education, make you laugh or smirk, or grin or sigh, shake your head, but never turn the page too quickly. 

It’s my sincere desire that, me in the use of new or old words, and you in the acting out of those words, can together make this fireball of a planet a better place.  Cheers to another one hundred and fifty columns of edutainment.

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