Every so often, I think like an old person. Not because I am old, hell, I’m only 60, going on 12. But because every passion I have, everything I love doing, traveling, writing, acting, playing hockey, cooking, I discovered on my own, not from a computer or cell phone or anything else that spits out things I “need” to discover.
And it puts me in the mood for an old-man rant that starts with, “Back in my day…” Like this:
We didn’t have Facebook. We had face-to-face look.
We didn’t have Twitter. We had Twizzlers, which we ate while playing, you know, outside. And they were great, especially covered in dirt.
We didn’t have Instagram. We had Gram or Grammy or Grandma, and they were pretty picture perfect.
We didn’t have LinkedIn. We were linked in to our friends, with whom, of course, we had daily face-to-face encounters.
We didn’t have Pinterest. We had just plain interests, stuff we found on our own. Usually outside.
We didn’t have Tumblr. We tumbled down hills.
We didn’t have the Internet. We had intramural sports.
We didn’t have Google to find things. We had to gooo to the library to find them.
We didn’t have Yahoo. We were yahoos.
We didn’t have YouTube. We had the Boob Tube, which TV was called, and black-and-white at that with maybe three stations, which our parents were pretty strict about us watching.
We didn’t have Moviefone to decide what to see with the click of a button. We had movies we decided to see by the turning of an actual paper page.
We didn’t have Netflix. We had flicks we had to leave the house to see.
We didn’t have things going viral. We had viruses.
We didn’t have WebMD. We had doctors who made house calls.
We didn’t have Wikipedia. We had encyclopedias. Which, much to the chagrin of parents who paid a lot of money for them, would usually gather dust.
We didn’t have Apples or Macs. We had apples, some of them macs, and we’d ingest them, they didn’t ingest us.
We didn’t have fat bodies from playing virtual games. We had slim bodies from playing real ones.
We didn’t have iPhones or iPads or iPods or iClouds or iAnything. We just had I. Us. We. A collective of youth who didn’t rely on a glowing screen to tell us what to think, where to go, when to do it, how to feel, who to follow, or why we should.
I’m not saying all that stuff is bad. Hell, I use a lot of it myself, makes my life easier, and I guess that’s just fine. You’re reading this on one of them (feel free to “share” this, by the way, which way back meant giving your buddies some of your dirty Twizzlers). But I come from a time when all that stuff wasn’t even a pipe dream.
Which entitles me to the nostalgic rant of a 60-year-old man. Going on 12. Who’s pretty glad 12 was much different then than it is now.