If you are in the under 30 age group or even in the under 40 age group, you really don’t know just how spoiled you are growing up in the 1990’s or earlier.
If like me you grew up in the 1970’s or earlier, you will really appreciate the memories that this brings back and hopefully this raises a few laughs as well.
When I was growing up in the 1960’s, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious tales about how hard things were when they were growing up, especially if they grew up during the Second World War or shortly afterwards.
It seemed like every story they told was exagerated, like walking twenty five miles to school every morning, uphill BOTH ways and so on.
It sounded more like a Monty Python sketch (which I might just add after the story). If you haven’t seen the sketch, you are in for a treat. But meanwhile, back to the story…
I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way that I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it!
But now that I am over the age of thirty, actually truth be known twice that and then some, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today and just how easy they have things. I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a dang Utopia these days and practically have things handed to you on a plate!
Here are some examples I can think of where life is just so simple these days compared to when I was growing up.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves. If we couldn’t find the book we wanted or even know which book we wanted, we had to look it up in the card catalog! Do you even know what a card catalog is? I didn’t think so! Then having found a book, you had to manually search through it to find the section you wanted and there wasn’t always an index. Oh no, sometimes you had to flip your way through the whole book to find what you wanted to know. Even if there was an index, it doesn’t mean what you are looking for was under the words you expected.
There was no email when I was growing up! Email, we had no cencept of what that was, it didn’t even exist in science fiction shows. If we wanted to send a message to someone, we had to actually write somebody a letter… with a pen! Then we had to walk a mile to put it in the mailbox and it would take days to get there! Talk about having it easy, now you can send an email to someone on the opposite side of the world in seconds. In our day you would be lucky if your letter even arrived if you sent it overseas and if it did it would take months.
There was no such thing as MP3 or music streaming. If you wanted to listen to music you had to buy a single or album from the record store or borrow it from a friend. If you wanted to steal music, you had to go to a record store where you hoped they didn’t recognise you and shoplift it yourself! Alternatively, if like me you had a reel to reel tape recorder, you could wait all day to tape it off the radio, hoping the DJ wouldn’t talk over the beginning or end of a song and mess it all up!
With radios being analogue and many stations in AM (Medium Wave), the station you were listening to often kept fading in and out, it was practically impossible to keep it in tune and when you did manage to record something, it likely had a high pitched whistle or hissing all the way through it. Oh the joy back in the day.
Thinking about loaning albums out, I lost quite a few where I lent them to friends who never returned them, or if they did, they were scratched to hell or had coffee stains (or worse) on the sleeves.
We didn’t have fancy things like Call Waiting on our phones! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that was it! No address book and phones had rotary dialers as well, so you had to manually dial every number and make sure the phone was held in a vice like grip in case it slipped while you were dialing and you ended up getting through to the wrong number.
We didn’t have things like Caller ID either, or Voice Mail! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, Mrs Jones from next door. You just didn’t know who was on the other end of the phone when you picked the receiver up!
Still on the subject of phones, they were tethered to a mount in the hallway by a long cable, so you couldn’t take them from room to room. If the call was for someone else, you had to cover the mouthpiece with your hand and shout to them to let them know there was a phone call. Then the phone receiver was connected to the base unit by a twisty cable that no matter what you did, just kept curling itself up and getting tangled. So darned annoying! It you were really hi-tech, you could buy an extra long cable, maybe six feet long and then you could take the phone handset into another room and even sit down while you were talking. You just had to be careful in case Grandma didn’t come down the stairs and trip over that dangerous phone cord stretched across the hallway, otherwise you would be in right trouble!
No fancy Sony Playstation video games back in our day with high-resolution 3D graphics! The younger ones of you probably had the Atari 2600 with games like Space Invaders and Asteroids. Oh boy were the graphics horrible, but remember before that there were no video games! The first ones I played were only a couple of years before I graduated from university. Yes I’m that old, thank you for asking!
Those original video games were all very similar. Your character was a little block figure. You actually had to use your imagination to work out what they were supposed to look like. Then there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen that went on forever. You could never win as the game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! That was about it, but we played them for hours
When you went to the movies there was no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height and invariably half of them were broken or horribly sticky. If someone who was tall or was wearing a hat sat in front of you and you couldn’t see the screen, well you were just screwed! Actually, it’s still pretty much the same if you go to the theater these days and if someone tall sits in front of you and you have to lean to one side to see the stage, they keep moving don’t they so you have to keep changing position to see what’s going on. Have you ever thought what was going on behind you at the theater when that happened? Probably in every other row behind you, whenever you had to change position, maybe they had to as well, it was like a chain reaction!
The younger ones of you probably grew up with cable television, but back then there were probably only fifteen channels and there was no onscreen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! There was no recording shows so you could watch them later either. If you were late and missed a show or didn’t know it was on, tough cookie!
I’m so old there was no cable television when I was growing up. Fifteen channels? That would be beyond my wildest dreams. Growing up we had two channels and they were only on for a few hours a day. Either side of that there was the Test Card, designed to help a television repair man check the picture was right. Of course there was no color, everything was in black and white. Talk about fifty shades of grey! It had a different meaning back in my day, especially when the television took almost five minutes to warm up and the picture would slowly appear.
Then we had no remote control either, so to change the volume on the television, you had to walk up to it and turn the volume up or down. When you sat back down, invariably it was too loud or not loud enough, so you had to repeat until the volume was just right. Also, there was this thing called the Vertical Hold, where if the television didn’t like a picture, often when the commercials came on, the picture would loop up and up and up. So you would have to walk over to the television and twiddle with this hard to find dial on the back of the box until the picture stayed stable. Walk back to your seat and it would often start moving up again, or sometimes down if you overcompensated. Oh the joys of those old television sets!
Microwaves? We had no idea what they were, they just didn’t exist. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove or go build a fire. Imagine that! If we wanted to have popcorn, we had to put the kernels in a pan with HOT oil and when it started popping we had to shake it all over the stove forever like an idiot.
Now do you see what I’m talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You are spoiled!
So having got off my soap box, I’m off to grab my phone, open up YouTube and listen to some Classic Rock!
Oh yes, almost forgot, but here’s that old Monty Python sketch for you, the one about being so poor. Actually, even this predates Monty Python it’s so old! It’s a classic…
Image used under a Collective Commons License from https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveparker/8416674320