As a kid, I remember hearing adults reminisce about 8-track tapes and watching The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I also remember thinking these adults sounded very old.
I found myself reminiscing similarly this week. Even as a young dad (31 to be specific) there are many things I grew up with that my two sons will never know or experience.
My boys will never swing a wooden golf club or use a hockey stick with a straight blade. Modern hockey sticks are curved for better wrist shots. Years ago, golf clubs took a page from minor-league baseball, favoring hard-hitting aluminum over soft wood.
My boys will never be asked to “be kind, please rewind.” In fact, they’re unlikely to ever watch a VHS tape. They’re equally unlikely to listen to a cassette of their favorite music, and the way things are going CDs might be on their way out too.
I remember having a blank tape cued for the nightly top-10 radio countdown. Back then, pirating music was as easy as simultaneously hitting the “play” and “record” buttons on the boom box.
Or how about the week in grade school where everyone learned how to use the card catalog? Now, enter any subject, author or title into the library’s computer and the location of a book – or a Web site – springs onto the screen.
Speaking of typing, do schools even offer typing classes anymore? Or is it just assumed that kids type 120 words per minute by age 10?
My two sons are also unlikely to ever press a camera against their nose while taking a photograph or advance film with their thumb. The viewfinder pose has been replaced by framing a photo with outstretched arms. Say cheese.
Not everything is better these days. My kids will never know what “Star Wars” was like before George Lucas spliced a phony-looking Jabba the Hutt and other bogus computer-generated scenes into his sci-fi classic.
On the other hand, they’ll also never be asked if they prefer the “smoking” or “non-smoking” section of a restaurant. And, I don’t expect them to get any candy cigarettes this Halloween. (Smoking in public places and candy cigarettes have both been banned here in Illinois.) Remember blowing the sugar out of those gum-filled cigs so it looked like smoke?
Beepers and bag phones are ancient history as far as my kids are concerned. Years before text messages were invented, old fogies like me were paging friends with the number 911 for “emergencies.”
And I’ll never forget how annoyed my mom would get when she’d go into the freezer and find empty ice trays. These days almost every freezer has an ice machine, including the side-by-side at grandma’s house.
Who could forget the rotary phone? I don’t think anyone uses those things anymore unless they’re planning an escape from “The Matrix.”
I feel like I’ve aged 20 years just writing this column. I suddenly have the urge to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and place a tiny bowl of hard candy on my coffee table. I can’t think of anything more timeless than Pat Sajak and Werther’s Original.
Article Image by: A. Carlos Herrera
Howard Ludwig is a former business writer who traded his reporter’s notebook for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.