My world view was greatly affected by Abraham Lincoln when I was in the third grade.
No, I didn't free my Star Wars figures from their servitude, nor did I try to assassinate then president Jimmy Carter during a play at Ford's theatre.
I was introduced to a box of cards called "Story Starters." These little cards would give you a topic to write about and the topic I drew had me imagining that Abraham Lincoln was somehow magically transported to modern times and that I had the job of showing him around.
I've been viewing the world with the question of "How would I explain this to Abe? How would this look to him?" ever since.
I constantly strip things down to their basics; I try to take the magic out of how an engine works. I also put inventions in order. To understand how this works, you first have to understand how that works. You'd think that it all starts with the wheel but actually toast comes first, then the wheel, then, a few inventions later, you get internet porn.
I think about Lincoln at least once a day, and have for the last quarter of a century. Sometimes I think that looking at the world through Lincoln's eyes would reveal a beautiful, wondrous world; Things that we might not appreciate; the ribbonlike sculpture of raised freeways interchanges, or the way all the signs and the lines in the road light up against the black backdrop of a night drive.
Other times I think that our modern world would look monstrous, a nightmare of scorched and paved earth and an insane pace that quickens exponentially right before our eyes, spinning out of control.
Ideally, I'd find Lincoln in a plain, simple room and we'd have at least a few days to talk before venturing outside.
Sneak Attack: I've been tagged before. I now Tag everyone who reads this. On your own blog, or right here in the comments section, let's hear your finish to the story starter:
Abraham Lincoln waits for you to introduce him to the present...