How to Tell if You are Over 30
I Started Getting Old Today...
It’s official ….I am now old. I don’t know how it happened but I do know when it did. It was just the other day. My oldest, returned to the nest, child was complaining about the fact I kept kicking her off my computer even though she has her own laptop. After letting her know that I would love to be able to have a laptop but couldn’t currently afford it – I got to thinking about what she’d have to deal with if she had lived during the time I was her age.
The Pre Computer Era
No computers – Atari and Apple were just beginning. There were no routers, modems, graphic cards, DSL, gui interface, - What you saw on the TV screen is what you got! Cheats and hacking hadn’t even been thought of, let alone the fact that the Internet did not exist.
No Cable TV – we had three channels and you got up to change the channel. Cartoons were ONLY on Saturday morning – the horror of having to wait a full week! You waited until Sunday night for Walt Disney and Wild Kingdom.
Seeing a movie meant going to the theater. You paid to get in, to get snacks and usually paid for your buddy who was a little bit short of cash. You only got to see it once and then it was gone. No waiting for the DVD. Maybe if it was popular enough it came out on VHS or Beta.
You favorite song was either on a record or the local radio station. If you wanted to copy it – No Napster! Get out the cassette player and hope the DJ doesn’t talk over the beginning or cut off the end. Forget about playing it in your car. 8 track tape decks is what you had and glad of it!
Phones- you had one phone – no caller ID, no call waiting, forwarding or automatic answering machine. In fact, real people still answered phones and if it was busy – too damn bad! Call back later.
You want a picture? Get out the camera, wind the film, take the picture, fill the roll, take it to be developed and hope to heaven the light was good, no one closed their eyes etc.. If you were real lucky you had a Polaroid Instamatic. But keep the fingerprints off of it!
No email, texting or twittering. Get out paper, pencil envelope and a stamp. Write an actual letter and walk to the mailbox to send it. Stamps cost maybe 10 cents.
You waited all week for the Sunday paper. You clipped your coupons, read the funnies and did the crossword. No looking up bargains online! No Dilbert dailies or cheating on the last few words.
Going to School
Schoolwork was still done on pencil and paper – not a computer with mom & dad’s help. You actually got up, went to the library, looked up what you wanted in a card catalog and checked out the book. Then you actually read the darn thing! Cliff notes and Google were not an option!
You actually had to go a full week to school. No teacher’s institutes, state holidays, parent teacher conference days, etc. State wide testing was only every couple of years. You actually had homework and were expected to return it or flunk!
Just Being a Kid
Child protective services didn’t care if you got a spanking, grounded from the park, or went without supper for a nite. In fact, the neighbors had permission to snatch your lil butt up if they caught you getting into trouble. It was a conspiracy of adults!
No microwaves- we used a gas stove – not even electric! No microwave popcorn, or quickly heating up leftover pizza, and other quickie snacks.
Need to get someplace? Ride the bus, ride your bike or use your feet. There was usually only one car and it was at work with your dad.
Listen to Your Elders
As I enumerated a few of these points to my lil darlings, I had a hard time keeping a straight face; the looks of confusion, horror and embarrassment were evident in their expressions.
I’m still trying to decide whether it was because they really understood that their lives are filled with wondrous and time saving things; or if they also realized, like I did, that oldness has crept into my thinking.
I’m going with the former. I AM NOT old!!! Just well seasoned! Now I have to go finish writing that letter to my mother…. if I can get them off the computer long enough to print it out!
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