What’s New?

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.

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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4 Responses to What’s New?

  1. rixgal says:

    Great post. I’ve often dreamed of moving from the city to the country so my kids can run free like we did as kids.

    I heard a grandfather tell a story about bringing his gun to school, so he might possibly be able to shoot a rabbit on the way home. And everyone was O.K. with it.

  2. Ed says:

    I knew a kid that painted all the team players for his vibrating board football game. He kept stats for the games too. He was a Vikings fan. I was always impressed with his discipline in this matter. He didn’t show it much anywhere else. His role on any team was that of Tanner. He was small and ready to fight.

    He was often the catalyst for neighborhood whiffle ball games that would take three days to complete. He would throw gum at a passing car and point at his companions. He could make any passing fancy a contest. He once licked through exactly one half of a Giant Jawbreaker…took an entire summer and in the end he had what looked like a geode.

    We had a rock salt war with our Red Ryder bb guns. Yes, it ruined the guns. We camped out at the city dump. We ran a gambling operation at the South Alabama soccer camps…pitching nickels closest to the wall. We played ridiculously violent games in his Mom’s living room: Nerf Home Run Derby, Fourth and Goal, and Block the Punt. Building a fort was a two week task. People got hit with sticks. Dirt clods were thrown.

    We never watched tv, although I did all the time. We were almost always outside if it was daylight and being out at night brought great adventure.

    I wonder how I’d be if I was a kid now. I bought a playstation II after the storm and have yet to complete any of the games Adam gave me but for Call of Duty. Amazingly, I like being the sniper. (Adam blows in with guns a’ blazing).

    I guess we are on our way to those big brain gelatinous alien bodies like Matt Groening prophesied.

  3. Smiley and me once kept a fort active and hidden for about three years. I know it either remained hidden or at least was forgotten by everyone else because of an incident that happened during Junior High. It seems a keg went missing from a Pascagoula Country Club golf tournament (I think there is no statute of limitations for keg stealing–thus, it went missing) and turned up in that fort. Someone held on to the thing for weeks trying to fence it only to be told by the high school buyer that it was useless without a tap. Sophisticated this older gent may have been, though he apparently was ok with the fact it had been in the outdoor summer heat for nearly a month.

  4. Rixgal, judging by the first two words of your post, you’d be a promising candidate for the Pelican Club.

    Thanks for stopping by and adding your story. My Dad often talks about how all the kids in his school carried pocket knives. Even back then that could get a kid in trouble though. The school didn’t take kindly to boys whittlin on the backs of the desks. There was also something about mumbletypeg (phonetic), but by the time he gets around to that part of the story I’m usually just nodding and staring blankly past him so I don’t really know what that was.

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