I’m Old.

Okay, so I’m not really old. I’m in my mid-30s, which by any standard outside the Middle Ages is perfectly reasonable, and since the Middle Ages had absolutely nothing to do with reason, we’re going to ignore that part. HoweverI do enjoy gloating over all the things that I know about, that kids these days will never understand, because I’m a crotchety old lady, grumbling about how hair is too long and music is too loud.

I disapprove.

To clarify, I’ve always been a crotchety old lady. If I had the funds (and the patience), I would rock proper eccentric old lady hats every day of the year.


Anyhoo, can we discuss the youth of today? I mean, really! They’re all so spoiled, with their cellular mobile devices and their interwebs that has clearly developed into a much larger, cleaner, faster series of tubes than when I was their age. Remember dial-up? REMEMBER NAPSTER? You’d deal with that hideous, screeching sound that your computer insisted on playing out loud for some reason, then you’d spend all day watching the download bar slowly inch forward, praying that you’d manage to finish getting all of “Purple Rain” before someone picked up the land line in the other room to make a call.

Yes, I know, “Purple Rain” is pre-internet, strictly speaking, but I think we can all agree here that Prince is forever relevant to any era.

The most Charming of the Princes.

Why, when I was a youngin’ we had these things called en-cyclo-pedias, and if you wanted to know something you needed to go to the library, and look it up yourself, using these little tab-thingies built into the sides of the pages, that showed you which letter you were on.

Pages are things in books.

Books are things made out of paper, with words on them.

Words are the long, detailed versions of emoticons.

Is there one for existential dread in the face of your own impending mortality, as you realize your entire system of communication is no longer relevant?

Why, in my day we had a record player, and you had to handle it like a fine antique vase, carefully using only your fingertips to move it, holding your breath to keep from scratching it. Once you had it positioned on the turntable (at least DJs have kept those alive), you lowered an arm with a needle on it, dropping the needle so delicately that you wouldn’t have disturbed a Faberge egg. Then, because you had memorized the exact pattern of groove-spacing across the vinyl, your favorite song started playing, and as long as you were careful not to nudge the record player in any way, you could have a dance party.

Now my kid just yells at his robo-servant Google, and we never have to worry about saving up for the latest album. Or tape. Or CD.

At least I wasn’t around for Betamax. Now that would be old. (Hi, Mom and Kurt!)

Remember when there was faux wood paneling on EVERYTHING?

The newest generations will never know the odd patience it takes to dial a number on a rotary phone, nor will they ever feel stymied because a phone number has too many 1’s in it, which were too short and unsatisfying to dial. Then again, I’ll never wind up in a wacky romantic misunderstanding because my apartment shares a party line, so I guess I can’t get too high and mighty.

We’ve also lost the art of the scandalous split screen!

And once you did dial that phone, and you had plans with someone, you just set a time and a place to meet, and assumed it would all work out. If a friend didn’t show up he was either in a horrible accident, or got a nosebleed; you wouldn’t find out unless you could find a payphone, had the correct change, and he was dumb enough to pick up the phone after leaving you high and dry. Now when I want to be a flake I can just text someone that I’ve suddenly developed scarlet fever, which as everyone knows is code for, “I’m in my pajamas and can’t bring myself to ever leave the house again.” Hell, the first time I was ever in any sort of car trouble, I had to pull over on the highway, crawl across the seats to get out on the safe side of the shoulder, and try not to inhale too many fumes while I walked to the nearest emergency phone, where I was genuinely surprised I didn’t need the quarters in my pocket.

To be fair, cell phones existed then.

Okay, that’s really just a story about poor planning.

Also, the “car trouble” I had was running out of gas.

Wow, somehow all of this is making me look like a ditsy moron. I swear, I’m not blonde. (Hi, Lizbeth!)

Proof I am a brunette: nobody has ever offered to do a photo spread of me, sitting and reading, even though it’s basically all I ever do.

There are dozens of other examples about how kids these days don’t understand how the world really works (re: used to work, several decades ago). Faxing. Going to the store if you needed to buy something. Having to work pretty hard (or at least have access to a good photo copier) if you wanted random strangers to see pictures of your junk.

At least we still have vaguely possessed toys to haunt our collective dreams.

Basically, the Golden Era has obviously passed us by, and I can only shake my head in despair at what the future holds for these poor simpletons who will never step foot in a Blockbuster, much less get a fine for forgetting to rewind a VHS. Now that they have supercomputers in their pockets, they don’t need to go through the entire day with the name of that character actor maddeningly on the tip of their tongue, and if they want to learn a new skill there are a million resources to help them understand almost anything they want, for free, democratizing information in an unprecedented way.

Kids these days. They just don’t understand.

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