John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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When I was your age...

As mentioned, Friday night was my gaming group's first game of the new year. However, Friday night is the one night every week (well, the weeks that we game) that I also get to see my goddaughter, Ellie. This past Friday night was an interesting encounter, as when SteveB and Kathy arrived with the others, including Ellie, to game, Ellie was complaining about how rough her life was because her folks had taken away her cell phone privileges for the holidays because of something she did the week before Christmas.

This got me to thinking about something... There were times that I would ask my parents for a ride to school when I was little, and I would get the standard lecture, "When I was your age, we didn't get drives to school. We had to walk two miles, barefoot, in the snow, uphill!" or some variant of that. While that was frustrating and somewhat tortuous, it was worse when I did get a ride to school, as I had to tolerate further criticism of my "wimpy" generation. And of course, when I got older, I realized that my parents had to endure the same verbal treatment from their folks. This made me realize on Friday night that Ellie's generation has to tolerate a new set of "When I was your age..." admonitions. Such as...

When I was your age, we didn't have VCRs. If we wanted to see a tv show, we had to be there when it was on. And if there was something good on the other channel, we only had one rerun the following summer to catch it.

When I was your age, we didn't have programmable telephones and cellphones. Every time we wanted to phone someone, we had to dial. And if the line was busy, we would wear our fingers down to stumps redialing. And you had to go to a telephone that was plugged into a wall to make a phone call and actually dial the number.

When I was your age, we didn't have video cameras and video stuff on telephones. When we got back from vacation, we would have to mail our film away and get photos back weeks later.

When I was your age, we didn't have automated teller machines. If we needed money, we had to stand in line at the bank between 10 am and 3:30 pm.

When I was your age, we didn't have remote controls for the tv. We actually had to get up and turn the dials.

When I was your age, we didn't have answering machines. We had to talk to each other. And if we were expecting a phone call, we had to wait for it at home.

When I was your age, we didn't have Velcro. We had to button and lace our clothes together.

When I was your age, we didn't have digital watches. If we wanted to know what time it was, we had to judge the angles of the big hands and the little hands on our watches.

When I was your age, we didn't have snooze buttons on our alarm clocks. If we wanted another two minutes of sleep, we risked oversleeping and being two hours late for school.

When I was your age, we didn't have 21-gear mountain bikes. We had only two gears: one gear on the bike and the footgear we wore as we pushed our bicycles up hills.

When I was your age, we didn't have CDs. If we wanted to listen to music, we would put on a big, round vinyl disc called a record. If we had all of the scratches memorized, we could be waiting by the record player when it started to skip.

Needless to say, when I threw a couple of these at Ellie, she gave me the look that only a 10-year-old can give you, and said, "Geez, you're old, aren't you?"

I guess I am, you know. Her parents and I giggled the rest of the evening about this, but it just goes to show that some things never change. And that's a good thing, methinks.

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