Kids These Days...and things they'll never see - Part 2
Things we had no idea that someday we'd wish our kids could experience. Yeah, they have the Wii, the Internet and yogurt in a plastic tube. But we had these:
Film strips and the projectors
Everyone wanted to be the one. The one who got to flip the lever of the film strip in time with the audible “beep” from the cassette player.
This was the way we were taught about nearly everything. From the U.S. Presidents to the bad things smoking does to the elements of the Periodic table, they made a film strip about everything.
The art was lousy. The narrator sounded like a rejected radio DJ. Hair and dirt stuck on the lens was magnified all over the screen.
But, man, it was awesome.
It got us out of actual learning. Not one student watched the damn things. Notes were passed. Spitballs flew. Hangman was played. Two girls (at the very minimum) whisper-talked the whole time. Maybe someone worked on homework that should have been done last night. Another someone fell asleep on their folded arms. And the teacher? Either sitting up front and grading papers or sitting in the back and grading papers.
But what I remember most is the hot lightbulb and the small, spinning fan. The smell of hot, burnt dust from the light and the resonant sound of the vent fan are a cherished school memory. The projector would get so hot, the potential to get a burnt wrist was a rite of passage.
I’ll take a “Mr. Lincoln Builds a Log Cabin” film narrated by a Hal Holbrook wannabe over an anime cartoon on a SmartBoard projection any day.
The card catalog
Ok they weren’t all that efficient. And yes the cards would be dirty and dog-earned and often out of order. I’m sure the librarians hated these things. They get one new book that needs to be cataloged, they potentially have to move everything around. Card by card by card. Ugh.
But the sweetest smell of the library, right after the scent of the old books, is the pinewood-y, index card-y, furniture polish-y scent of the card catalog.
It was a standard, comforting fixture of the library. Like the study tables and the shelves themselves, you could always count on it being there. When you think of the library, you instantly picture one of the three things: 1 – shelves after shelves of books, 2 – the wrinkily, suspicious librarian or 3 – the large wall of drawers of the card catalog.
And let’s be honest. The hunt is part of the fun. Flipping through card after card locating the novel you were looking for was magical. Nothing beats the satisfaction of finally finding what you’re looking for and grabbing the small square piece of scrap paper and the dull golf pencil from the tin-can-turned-pencil-holder. What fun is typing in a keyword in the Search box of the library computer? Wheeeee.
Besides, we can no longer do our best Bender impression from “The Breakfast Club." (Find the scene if you're confused.)
Saturday morning cartoons
I understand. There are at least two cartoon channels on cable, not counting the Disney channels and the Nick channels. Kids can watch cartoons whenever they want.
That’s the problem right there.
Actually it’s two problems:
1 – cartoons are now way too convenient, and
2 – They suck.
Save for a few (ie Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time, Regular Show – all of which are odd, witty and fun as hell), cartoons these days really suck. Have you watched any recently? Where is the fun of Tom & Jerry injuring each other? Or the hilarity of Bugs Bunny outwitting Elmer Fudd? Or the awe of the Super Friends defeating the Legion of Doom? Gone, gone, gone.
What we are left with is suck, sucky, suck.
The cartoons today are trying way too hard to be “young” or “hip” or “with it”. We get it, ok, you’re cool. They also have way too many silly things like the boy trying to get the girl or the girl crushing on the boy. Or the kids trying to baffle the moron parents. All adults in these cartoons are idiots: old = nitwit.
Kids have the rest of their lives to spend trying to get a boyfriend or being an old, stupid middle-ager. Bring back the Acme products, the falling pianos and the fake tunnel painted onto the huge boulder. It should be fun, not foolish.
The merriment of getting up way too early on a Saturday to be the first one at the TV (because the first one there gets to pick), eagerly anticipating the upcoming antics of Magilla Gorilla or Woody Woodpecker, is a thing of the past. You’d spend all morning in front of that television, regardless if it was sunny and 72 degrees outside. Your friends are begging you to come outside and play baseball or Frisbee or ride bikes. Dad wants to have a catch. The ice cream truck is coming up the block!
All that can wait. The Pink Panther is on.
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Things we had no idea that someday we'd wish our kids could experience. Yeah, they have the Wii, the Internet and yogurt in a plastic tube. But we had these.