Quote of the Day “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.” — Oscar Wilde
I was thinking today about how the world has changed since the 1970’s. As a kid I was always amazed at stories from family and teachers about how things were in the old days–meaning pretty much any time pre-dating my own memory. It is still hard for me to comprehend a world without air conditioning and television. The idea of a stocking full of oranges as a Christmas treat still sends chills down the spine; at least the part of the spine that carries the deep sewn recollections of my own Santa expectations that most certainly included no food which could be considered healthy. Social networking consisted of being randomly assigned a college roommate or perhaps hitchhiking.
Kids today must surely look at old guys like me and have the same sense of disbelief and wonder about how we managed to put up with telephones that couldn’t do, well, everything. I doubt they can even conceive of the rotary dial. Staying with changes in telecommunications, I wonder if kids these days have any way of experiencing the joy of making a call to a stranger and asking “Is your refrigerator running?” Caller ID, anywho.com, and itemized bills have spelled the death of the prank call industry I suppose.
Would kids today see the point in playing Atari football featuring three blobs roughly forming an “x” vs three squares designed to represent “o’s?” I am pretty sure social services would be called if they caught a kid riding a bike with a bat, two gloves and a ball balanced on the handle bars and another kid being “bucked” on back down a four lane city road. (Speaking of “bucked” did kids use this term anywhere besides Pascagoula?) And the only chance a helmet was involved was if somebody’s Dad was a coach and inadvertently left the equipment sack out of his car one day. In such an event, the batting helmet was wedged on to the handlebars with the gloves–the idea of wearing it would never have occurred to any of us. And would the junior high coaches look the other way (to hide their amusement) if all the phys-ed T-shirts went missing and the following Saturday reappeared on the backs of two dozen pre-pubescent punks playing basketball in what was ostensibly a locked gymnasium; or would it be front page news and simply more evidence of a society in decline?
Kids these days have it easy in a lot of ways. Their technology, their organized activities, and seemingly their wealth far outnumber that to which the kids of my generation had access. But I wouldn’t trade places with them–my era was alright. As I recall, that’s pretty much what the old timers had to say about us too.