Wednesday, August 4, 2010

They're All On My Damn Lawn

Ah, kids today--when they're not busy being on my lawn or playing with the Google, they're trying to cross oceans in small boats. Clearly they're not facing the serious hardships that my generation had to face, and as a result they need their little thrills anywhere they can get them.

What harsh things did we have to deal with when I was a kid?

1) Until high school, we had a living room TV set that did not have a remote control. This meant if you didn't like what was on TV at that moment, you had to walk across the room to change the channel. WHICH WAS DONE USING A DIAL. That's right, you couldn't even punch in the channel number for instant gratification. You had to scroll through each channel to get to the one you wanted.

2) Laptops? Nope! If you had a computer, you needed a whole desk to put it on. And forget about the Internets--the few homes with modems had very little to connect to. And if you were a curious lad who wanted to look at porn, you had to go to the newsstand and pretend you were old enough to buy Playboy. Undignified!

3) We didn't have cell phones either. If you were out of the house and wanted to call someone, you needed a quarter and a pay phone. Or, if you didn't have a quarter, you had to call "collect" which meant charging the call to the person you're calling--though you'd usually just yell "come pick me up I'm downtown on Main and Maple!" really quick before anyone would accept the charges. (Because cell phones weren't in competition with the phone companies at the time, the cost of a collect call was several times what a normal call would have been)

4) If you wanted to listen to music, you couldn't fit all your hundreds of favorite songs into a small device the size of a pack of cards, nope! You had to buy cassette tapes, and listen through a number of songs on a crappy album just to get to the song you wanted (and fast forwarding was very imprecise--it'd take a lot of hunting to find your song). And those albums cost up to $10 back in those days, which is like $4,000.00 in today's money.

5) Want to drive a car? Well, okay cars were pretty much the same as the ones we have now. Power windows, A/C, all that stuff. But we didn't have as many Korean models back then.

I see that all my hardships were about technology--truth be told, when I was growing up we had a growing economy and low unemployment rate, and it was pretty much accepted that if you went to college you'd be set. Today's kids don't have that certainty anymore, as millions of college kids are wondering if they'll find a job that will pay off their loans and it's pretty much accepted that none of them will see a dime of social security. So I guess if some crazy teenage girl wants to sail the ocean for a thrill, maybe she needs the escapism.

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