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They don't make them like they used to...

Updated on January 17, 2011

They don't make 'em like they used to. With that proclamation I have officially become my grandfather. Welcome to your mid 40's- enjoy your stay!

But, and I hate to admit this as much as I hate donning my reading glasses every morning, there is some truth, albeit surprising truth in this phrase. So where to start? AUTOMOBILES: This one is tricky. Cars admittedly don't have the same classic yet tank-like solidness they did back in the day. But then again, gas mileage is off-the-scale compared to the 10-12 miles per gallon we demanded in 1971. But have you noticed, at least if you live here in the Rustbelt that cars, well, just don't rust out like they used to. When I was a kid back in the 1970's, you were lucky to have fenders left on your car after four to five hard winters. So what has changed? I mean they still put salt on the roads to control the ice and snow. What has changed is the use of galvanized steel. And that is just a fancy term for steel that has been treated with zinc; the zinc acts as a protective coating "sacrificing" itself first. This allows your auto's steel a fighting chance against the salt. So appearance counts for a lot, but what is appearance without reliability, mechanical soundness, etc? Truth is, and again I hate to admit this, but cars last a lot longer today than they ever did in our past. Forty years ago you were damn lucky to get 80,000 miles out of your car's engine without meticulous maintenance and a blessing from the Almighty.. Now days, you can except to get at least 100,000 miles our of your engine with just the occasional oil change. So, as for cars, they don't make them like they used to - they make them better. HOMES: Now hear, at least with me, the jury is still out. Homes now go up from start to finish in sixty days or less. And that makes you wonder - at least it does me. Sixty days, two months is a short amount of time to construct what will likely be the biggest investment of your life. Still, homes are more energy efficient, more environmentally friendly in their construction than they have ever been. That being said, the charm of brick and stone work has gone the way of the forty-hour week - you will play hell not paying extra for a home with a real masonry fireplace and chimney. In summary, the cost has gone up but so has the efficiency, the turn-around time on the build. But we have lost something in the way of charm... LAWNMOWERS: I could rant all day long on this subject, but in short, lawnmowers are junk compared to what they once were. Of course, and I not slamming international trade here, but lawnmowers 30-40 years ago were still being manufactured in the US. And in all fairness, you can still likely find a mower or two that is American Made, but they arefew and far between. Growing up, my dad was a Lawnboy man through and through. Every spring he had a running bet with my mom that his beloved mower, after a bit of TLC of course, would start on the first pull. And it did - without fail. My mother still has two Lawnboy mowers; they date to the late 1970's. And still, every spring they start on the first pull... though I have been known to skip the ritual my dad loved so much. HAIRCUTS: As a man, I can only speak to a man's experience in the barber chair. Ladies please don't take offense. In the 1970's and certainly before that decade, men cut other men's hair - it just was. And the average time in the chair from start to finish was around twenty-two minutes. That's an exact figure - take it from a kid who sat there watching the minutes slowly, painfully tick by. And, with tip of course, a men's haircut would set you back about $3.75. And you could enjoy all the cigarette smoke you could breathe in as the average barbershop could have doubled for a bar - without the booze of course. A couple of weeks back, I went to Walmart out of desperation. The larger stores have their own hair cutting salons - unisex of course - and I was out of options. I walked in, signed in, was ushered to a chair, and within twelve minutes upon arrival I was walking out the door freshly trimmed. And that is no joke. Of course with tip I was about $18.00 lighter for the effort, but it was quick and I had no complaints. Of course I kind of do miss the smoke... I guess in summary, things have changed - some for the better, some for the worse. And if you take anything away from this, well, keep an open mind and an open wallet - Can you imagine $18.00 for a man's haircut?



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    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      Hey you kid, I can go back farther than that and yes I do agree with you on all that you said. I totally enjoyed that nostalgic look back. This was funny, true and poignant at the same time. Loooooved it. Welcome to the "Pages," DTR0005. Look forward to reading much more, you're good.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Congratulations on becoming a Grandfather DTR. I agree with all you wrote but wait till you get to your 50's like me. The changes stagger the mind even more.

    • princess g profile image

      princess g 7 years ago

      lol...I've been saying that sinse I was 30...