“Where are you off to?” [Momo] asked.

“To our play class,” Franco told her. “That’s where they teach us how to play.”

Momo looked puzzled. “Play what?”

“Today we’re playing data retrieval It’s a very useful game, but you have to concentrate like mad.”

“Is it fun?” Momo asked, looking rather doubtful.

“That’s not the point,” Maria replied uneasily. “Anyway, you shouldn’t talk like that.”

“The point is it’s useful for the future.”

This quote is taken from Michael Ende’s Momo, a book everyone really should read. It’s as old as I am, and easily my favorite book.

To those denizens of the Unforums who don’t truly understand why I have issues with someof the uses of “We” and “Us,” read the quote again. Actually, you should purchase the book and read the whole thing, cover to cover. Ach, you think I joke, but I am quite serious. It’s an amazing little book.

The children in the book are in a play class because their parents have opened accounts with the Men in Grey, who have promised them that the more they hurry, the more time they save into a time account at their bank — this is time that they’ll have later on. That time that they’ve been saving can definitely be cashed out later, like paper money, or candy bars from a vending machine. (Except the Grey Men were totally lying. Time saved is time lost, don’tcha know.) But, their instructions were fairly simple: Eschew those things that are time wasters. Bring others up to speed as quickly as possible, and tell them How Things Run, because that way, we’ll learn how to play better. Efficacy in day-to-day living would obviously mean that everyone gets along better and has a better quality of life, right?

Clearly, this would be the case! Instead of the slow, sexy burn of discovery, We’ve got rules to get us past that first hurdle of discomfort. No more discomfort! No more mystery! Data Retrieval ARGs would be so handy – clearly-delineated Rules of Engagement. Updates that the Old Skoolers can predict with ease. Forum threads moderated into oblivion, with at least 50 emoticons to choose from — y’know, when linguistic nuance just won’t do.

The point is, it’s useful for the future.