The Easy Life


I look at my son Q and his friends playing video games but all I really see is Q, that’s because his friends aren’t there, they’re at home and they’re all playing together via Xbox and headphones. They don’t have to walk to a different house, go down in some shaggy “family room” and play Pong on a 12” black and white TV, the technology they have far exceeds anything NASA could have dreamed up in 1976.

But there is one thing we had that they don’t; tan lines.

So I started to think of all the joys they’re missing out on after years of technology easing its foot off their collective throats…

Video Games: When we played Nintendo you had to plug a cartridge into a box and it worked about 30% of the time, then you’d have to remove the cartridge and blow in it as if that technique was a magic panacea, blowing into the cartridge had the same effect as shaking a bag of chicken bones over a dead guy. On the plus side our graphics were very lifelike assuming you knew football players made out of twelve Lego’s.

Cassette Tapes: If you gave today’s kids a cassette tape they’d look at it like an iguana staring at a Rubik’s Cube. But they’d realize the cassette was far superior to some stupid phone that holds 10,000 easily accessible songs, especially when they experience the joy of sticking their finger into the cassette to rewind it to find a song you had ZERO hope of finding. Then there was the adventure of finding a song to put on the cassette, you’d have to wait by the radio for your favorite song to come on only to have the disk jockey talk all over the intro. 

Music in General:  Nowadays you can download individual songs; back in our day every album purchase was full of mystery and intrigue. You’d hear a song you liked on the radio by a new band, go out and buy the album based on that one song, and then discover that that one song was completely different from any other song the band had ever recorded.

Bikes:  They own them, they just never ride them.

Skateboards:  When I was a kid there was “a” skateboard, one size, four wheels, go.  There were no urethane wheel and hinged trucks, if you hit a pebble you were quickly invited to a driveway tasting party,  Now they have elaborate skate parks and skateboards tuned like a F! Racecar.  Anyone can skate in a laser-leveled concrete pool, not everyone can skate down a sidewalk covered in twigs.

Soccer:  We didn’t play soccer because, well, we were guys.

Wall mounted phones:  If you were lucky you had a ten foot cord somewhere near a closet, otherwise every conversation was public. Rotary phones also made it really hard to text.

Typewriters:  Hahahahaha!  These kids would die. No word count, no spell check, no paragraph revision, if you wanted to cut and paste you literally had to take scissors, cut out a sentence, and paste it somewhere else using actual paste.  There was no Microsoft Word, just you against the Corona Excel, assuming you didn’t have to change the ribbon you could type a page in about four days.

Clothes:  These kids will never know the horror of Robert Hall’s a week before school starts.

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