As we get older things change, one of those being how much we sleep. Despite staying as busy as I am, and am usually only home if I’m working or sleeping, I frequently find myself up in the middle of the night. Now, I do keep a post-it pad on my nightstand so if I’m awoken by something I can quickly write it down in hopes of going back to sleep.
Getting back on topic… this past weekend I awoke in the middle of the night and instead of working tried to find Law and Order on TV like I usually. While watching TV, I was reminded me of a visit from my sister and nieces in Orlando late last year. We were eating at Sweet Tomato’s (which is the best place to go if you want to gorge yourself on healthy food) and we began talking about VCRs, corded telephones, TVs with remote controls and countless other things my nieces were too young to remember.
Well, I thought reflecting on all the things my generation has seen might be a fun topic for my next blog topic so started writing this last week. You could say this is a list of things you would remember if you were of a certain age or if you’re a child of the 80’s… I like to call it my “Top 25 Now and Then.”
Keep in mind this is meant to be light-hearted and funny and not poking fun at any generation and also to the best of my recollection. I’ve certainly heard many times from my Dad how he walked to school, up hill and in the snow wearing the same pair of shoes he wore for school, soccer and everywhere else. So here we go…
#1. Now… we can take our cell phones and walk into the other room to get some privacy. Then… if you didn’t have a long enough phone cord to your phone, which was attached to a wall to walk down the hall, you had no privacy. Oh and call waiting… we were lucky if we had it.
#2. Now… we can comfortably change the TV channel with the push of a button. Then… we had to actually get off the coach to turn a knob and to change the TV channel. We didn’t have channel surfing.
#3. Now… we can take pictures and wirelessly sync them to our computer for printing as soon as we walk in the door. Then… we took film from a camera to a pharmacy and waited days for prints. If we wanted to share them we made extra copies.
#4. Now… you can take your music with you anywhere via an iPod, phone or other music player. Then… if you were cool you had a boom box and if you were really lucky you had a Sony Walkman attached to your hip dancing to your beats – don’t think we had twerking either.
#5. Now… you can create documents on your laptop, cell phone or tablet and make as many copies as you want on your desktop printer. Then… we had typewriters, everybody took typing at school and you took your finished document to a copy machine often at a store.
#6. Now… you can reheat anything in a microwave in just a few seconds. Then… everything was cooked on or in a stove and the first microwave was almost as big as a 27” CRT tube TV. We watched popcorn pop in the microwave instead of watching TV.
#7. Now… if you want to buy anything you can go online and click a few buttons. Then… you looked at the newspaper, made some phone calls, got in a car, spent money on gas and went to a store where you were lucky and surprised to run into a friend rather than know they checked in there on Facebook.
#8. Now… if you’re meeting someone and can’t find him or her you can call their cell phone to find out where they are. Then… you met someone on time, waited, looked around and possibly yelled out his or her name until you found him or her. When meeting Mom and Dad you were “never” late.
#9. Now… if you need to research something you can “Google” it. Then… you got Mom and Dad to take you to the library and you had to use something called the Dewey Decimal System or look it up in an encyclopedia set you had in your home.
#10. Now… if you want to write a letter you email it. Then… you handwrote a letter, which took more time, put a stamp on it and left it for the mailman to deliver often waiting weeks (instead of seconds) for a response and we had no “read receipt.”
#11. Now… you can stream movies direct to your TV, cell phone or tablet. Then… you got into a car, if you could talk your parents into doing so, and drove to the movie store where you walked up and down isles trying to find the right movie hoping they had enough VHS tape copies for you to rent one.
#12. Now… people have one if not several cell phones. Then… you had a phone attached to a wall and when cell phones came out they came with a battery pack and strap and you were really cool if you had a phone “mounted” in the center console of your car.
#13. Now… files and documents are saved on thumb and external hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. Then… everybody had “hard” paper copies and when computers did come out we had a 5.25-inch floppy disks with a storage capacity of a whopping 360 kilobytes.
#14. Now… you can see what’s on TV any time by clicking the “Guide” button on your TV remote control. Then… you thumbed through the TV guide or the local newspaper and if you recorded a show on your VCR you prayed nobody recorded over it.
#15. Now… if you want to send someone a message during class you can text them. Then… you hand wrote a note and coordinated a strategic collaborative effort among classmates to get your note delivered without the teacher catching you.
#16. Now…you connect to the Internet by clicking a button and in seconds you’re connected to the world. Then… you clicked a button and waited for what seemed an eternity to connect to the Internet while listening to a constant and annoying fax sound.
#17. Now… record players or turntables are used to mix mad beats. Then… record players were used to play LPs or vinyl records.
#18. Now… we have printers that print in more colors than you can imagine and in 3-D or holographic printing and can print on a variety of different services. Then… we had dot matrix printers on a continuous feed and they printed in black ink “only.”
#19. Now…they have computers as thick as a small book with up to 1 terabyte of storage space. Then… we had a commodore 64 and it didn’t even have a hard drive. You had to hook up an external tape drive or use a floppy disk.
#20. Now… you can buy individual songs via iTunes or other online music venues. Then… we had to buy the whole“cassette” with every song including songs you didn’t even like.
#21. Now… kids come home from school, do their homework and stay inside to play on the computer, games or hang out with friends texting on their phones. Then… kids came home from school, did their homework and were told to go outside, run, play and come home when it got dark.
#22. Now… red M&Ms are good for you. Then… they weren’t.
#23. Now… you can play 3-D games with amazing graphics with people all over the world. Then… the coolest game we had was Atari or Battleship, it wasn’t electronic battleship and your opponent was directly in front of you and you made your own sound effects.
#24. Now… MTV shows everything but music videos and you have to tune in during certain times to see them. Then… MTV actually played music videos all the time.
#25. Now… you can buy an 85” high definition TV that weighs 85 pounds. Then… you were lucky if you had a 32” CRT tube TV that weighed in excess of 300 pounds.
Life really would have been simpler had we known and had all the things we have now… innovation and hindsight. I really enjoyed writing this blog as it’s given me insight into something else… many things in life are cyclical. By that I mean big hair, neon colors, high tops, recessions, pleats, spandex, the perfect peg on jeans, jean shorts, turned up collars, etc. I’m still waiting on my Members Only jacket to come back in style.
When you think about it, it is truly amazing the things that my generation has seen let along my Mom and Dad’s. Imagine where things will be in ten, fifteen or twenty-five years from now.
BY: Cory Prado