Things lost, forgotten, or soon to vanish entirely
Today my wife and I were talking about music, the music we grew up with. At some point one of us mentioned a record player. My nine year old asked me, "What's a record player" after about ten minutes of frustrating explanations, I think she finally got it. But it also got me thinking. There are a lot of things from my childhood, and all over the world that have disappeared in the last few decades, and it seems more and more things go every day. Sometimes without us even noticing. So with that in mind here is a short list of some things gone but not forgotten, a few things I didn't even realize were gone until now, and some things that will be gone in the very near future.
A few animals have left us in the last thirty years. A couple I knew of, a few I didn't.
- The Dutch Alcon Blue Butterfly - 1979
- Javon Tiger - 1979
- Golden Toad - 1989
- Zanzibar Leopard - 1996
- Spix Macaw - 2004
- West African Black Rhinoceros - 2006
I doubt that many of these will be missed by very many, but I think it's still sad that with all of our technology and resources that these species could not be saved.
Gone but not forgotten
- The vinyl record/The record player- They seemed to disappear overnight with invention of the Compact Disk, though I think the death bell had been ringing for about ten years prior.
- Cassette Tapes - Have gone the way of the Dodo. Cassette tapes seemed to fizzle out in the early 90's after the CD replaced them. (though I argued for along time that Cd's scratched and were ruined, that never happened to tapes) yes I was one of the last holdouts to buy a CD player.
- Video Tapes - And along with them the VCR - Pretty much the same story as above - though they seemed to hold out a bit longer.
- Public Pay Phones - This one actually took me a little by surprise. One day I turned around and the phone that had been on the side of the gas station near my house was gone. Then I noticed more and more that they were vanishing all over the place. I guess they figured that everyone today has a cell phone.
- The Video Rental Store- With the emergence of Netflix, and Red Box, all of a sudden people don't want to pay $6 a movie, plus late fees, plus a membership fee. What the heck people. All the Blockbusters of the world seemed to vanish within a matter of months. They attempted their own version of a Netflix type company, but I think people figured they'd given that company enough of their money over the last twenty years.
- The Dewey Decimal System - Hey kids, did you know that to find a book we used to have to go by a complicated number and letter system, find a card in a stack of thousands just to find out where our book was in a library? Wow, dad, that's stupid, why didn't you just look it up on the computer? (Fictitious conversation - did not actually occur to my knowledge). Again, I don't think anyone will miss it, but it sure brings back memories doesn't it.
On The Endangered List
Photo Processing Stores- The day of the 1 hour photo is gone. Can you even buy film for regular cameras anymore? The stand alone photo booth is gone. You still see a few in your local Walgreens or Rite Aid stores, but I get the feeling that they specialize in digital printings and no longer deal with film at all. I wonder what they did with all the equipment?
Land line Phones- I personally don't know many people who still have a land line phone. There are a couple, but not many. I think the only thing that keeps them hanging on is the fact that most cable companies offer the "bundle packages" where the phone is essentially free. Along with the dwindling number of land line phones also came the disappearing Long Distance Charges - I don't think that one will be missed at all, by anyone but the phone company.
The Multi-Million Dollar Muisic Group - With muisc easily accessible or free on the internet I believe that today's musical artists will struggle to make money like never before. Physical record sales are down 11% from a year ago bringing record sales to an all time low of a steady decline over the last ten years. Digital sales are up, but not enough to compensate for the loss of record sales. In today's market the only way for an artist to make any real money is to tour, but unfortuanately you have to live with the fact that your work is going to be sold for next to nothing, or taken for free from countless file sharing websites.
Books -Some say that the written word will disappear in our lifetime. The cost of printing a book is tremendous in comparison to uploading it onto a kindle or on a website. How could a publishing company stay competitive if others are cutting out the printing process entirely and selling their wares only in digital form?
Newspapers - Newspapers have been struggling for some time now, I have family who works for a daily paper, I've heard some of the horror stories. Sales are down, revenue is down, people are being laid off. Jobs that were done by three or four people now are being accomplished by one or two. I've seen articles listing that sales are down up to 77% from a decade ago. With more and more people getting their news from the Internet. It won't be cost effective to run a newspaper either.
Libraries- With no new books, newspapers, and maybe even magazines (though I'm certain that the tabloids will survive, God help us) could that also mean the end of Libraries as we know them? Will they become more like museums? Will there come a time that possessing an actual copy of written material will be rare?
As to what else the future holds, and what else in our lives will disappear before our eyes. We can only speculate. Do you have a guess what else our children will never know existed?