New Eyes (thoughts on “Dune,” by Frank Herbert

It was always a source of great embarrassment to me that I had never read Dune. I say “was,” because that was the past. This is The Now. I just finished an awesome unabridged recording by Audio Renaissance, complete with voice actors and the sound of haunting desert wind between chapters.

A quote from “Dune”

My love for audiobooks began with a snoring roommate. No number of objects flung in her direction had any effect, and I decided that if the thunder could not be silenced, it would be drowned out.

Overall it was a great experience, falling asleep to audiobooks, except for the times I would fall asleep and then wake up disoriented with no idea what was going on. One such incident that sticks in the memory was drifting off the the sound of Rob Inglis’ narration of the Two Towers, only to be jolted awake by his phlegmy interpretation of Gollum: “Filthy little Hobbitses! The thieves! The thieves! We hates them!” Another such experience was listening to O.J. Sanders reading “Catch 22,” waking suddenly to Yossarian hollering into my ear: “Turn, you bastard, TUUUURN!” They brought the story alive for me, definitely.

You know you’re reading a good book when it makes you see your own world with new eyes. This is what happened while I was reading “Dune.” On Dune, the most valuable commodity is water. Water is so scarce that the people of the planet wear special suits that capture all excess moisture to be drunk again.The people guard their water jealously.

A few weeks ago, the summer camp I’m working for went to Coal City for a week. One of the first things they told us was, “Don’t drink water from the tap!” Our first day, I made the mistake of thinking that if a waitress at a diner poured water from a pitcher, that meant it hadn’t come from a tap first. Let’s just say I was out of commission for the rest of the evening. We were provided with bottled water for the week (the small ones), to share with the kids in the ┬áprogram as well. From the get-go I was reluctant to share my tribe’s allotted moisture with the small ones under our supervision. My three teammates and I went through an average of three cases every day, and I started to get annoyed when kids would take one sip and then forget about the bottle, leaving it on a table or inside a piano. In the spirit of Dune I found myself thinking these fools clearly didn’t want to survive if they left their water unattended.

What an amazing culture build, to create a society that revolves around something that’s so ordinary and common for us here in the United States. I think about Dune almost every time I drink water now. So, about eighty times a day. Thanks, Frank Herbert.

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