Following is the joke that started this whole contemplation. I can't give anyone credit for writing it as I don't know who the original author is and I did clean up a little bit of the more colorful language.
If you are 36, or older, you might think this is hilarious! When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda. I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty , I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!
- I mean, 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, in the card catalog!!
- There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!
- Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our butts! Nowhere was safe!
- There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!
- Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car (if you were lucky). We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?
- We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!
- There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please!
- And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
- We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen.. Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!
- You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your rear and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!
- There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!
- And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!
- And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!
- And car seats - oh, please! Mom put you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place.
- We didn't have any malls or shopping centers when I grew up, if we went shopping we were going "downtown", which involved parking the car and walking from store to store.
- We lived in a neighborhood that was conducive to kids playing outside, almost every home had a swing set, all parents knew each other and when a Mom wanted you to come home she opened up the door and hollered your name until you came home. Mom's voices could carry across at least 4 houses and sometimes more.
- A grocery store was a grocery store, period. We didn't have super shopping centers like WalMart or Fred Meyers, there was no such thing as one stop shopping. You went to the grocery store to get groceries, the hardware store to get hardware, the drug store to get drugs (prescriptions, shampoos, and things like that).
- Most moms knew how to sew and it was actually more cost effective to make clothes instead of buying them (today the reverse is true).
- The Wish Book.....this was either a Montgomery Ward or Sears Catalog. New catalogs came out twice a year, one in the Spring/Summer and one in the Fall/Winter and a special one just for Christmas. Most kids Christmas lists were based upon finds in these catalogs. If your parents had a charge card it was probably for one of these stores. To order out of the catalog you either mailed in your order form or you placed a phone call. If you were lucky enough to have a pick up center close by, then you drove to the pick up center to get your order once it came in.
- Most neighborhoods had a local corner store, usually ran by a family. We had a charge account at our local corner store and it was a big deal when you finally got old enough to walk (about a block) to the store, with a list from your Mom and have the store put it on your charge account.
- Most corner stores had a penny candy section and you could pick up a few pieces of candy for a penny each.
- We also had a neighborhood park with a duck pond and all! Walking or riding your bike to the park carrying bread for the ducks along with warm pop to drink and sandwiches to eat was a rite of passage. I think that the rule was that the oldest kid in the group had to be 11 or something like that. We spent many fun hours playing at that park.
- How about these games, how many kids know them today? Red Rover, Fly Catchers Up, Dodge Ball, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, Square Ball, Tether Ball or Forts.
Given my kids aversion to anything that is work related, I bet I can guess what my kids will choose, how about yours? Just some food for thought....
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