How Things Have Changed
This year my high school class is having our 50th anniversary reunion and it got me thinking about what has changed in the past fifty years. Of course the obvious is us. We all look different than we did on that beautiful June day when they handed us our diploma's and said, "don't ever come back here again." (Maybe it was just me they said that to.)
Here is a quick list I came up with of the top changes to our world since 1972. It is possible some of these were around back then but they were not widely used or seen. As usual, if I've made any mistakes, too bad it is my list, go make your own if you are so offended.
Sabermetrics for sports, especially baseball. The kids today are more interested in spin rate, launch angle, exit velo, and other mumbo jumbo that relates to fantasy sports. For us that actually went outside and played sports, we still care about batting averages, ERA, and wins. This is a bad trend.
Polarizing politics. Remember when Republicans and Democrats actually worked together to try to make the country better and safer? Me either hardly, its been so long since then. Today everyone spends more time screaming at each other and trying to get an edge that we've forgotten how to actually make the country safer and better. For everyone, not just the top 1%.
A world of paperless has become our every day now. I miss using carbon paper to make copies and the smell of mimeograph. Today everything is paperless including your grocery bags that you now have to bring to pack your own groceries.
Fueling the paperless world is the on line world. On line used to mean your neighbor was using the phone and you had to wait your turn. Now you never need to leave your house to literally get anything you need in life by just going on line. "I would like the fried rice special, a blonde with long legs, two prayers for my dog, and go ahead and send the Orkin man on Thursday."
It was always comforting to come home from school and see your mom there waiting for you. Some days she was holding a glass with ice that looked like water but was more likely vodka, and other days she had chocolate chip cookies for you. Either way today we have couples that need to have the two incomes in order to survive. The two income family is now the new normal and kids are missing the best part of the day.
The good news is that some of those parents are working from home today. Many of us had home offices when we were in the full time workforce but Covid forced many companies to allow their employees to work remotely and guess what? The company survived. Now this is the way of life for many and while the kids love having mom around, mom is thinking, why didn't we have pets instead?
I will never understand Debit Cards. Daily I see Gen X, Z, and every other gen something in line ahead of me paying $0.43 cents for their coffee at AM/PM with a debit card and my first thought is, "you don't even have a stinking $1 on you?" This is one of the worst things to happen in the past fifty years for sure.
In a shocking turn of events, kids sitting in front of a TV playing video games and watching bad cartoons instead of being outside running around and playing something, we now have a worldwide problem of childhood obesity. Go figure. Here is a thought, turn off the video games and make your kids go outside and run around for an hour every day.
Remember records? 8-tracks? Cassette tapes? Today it is all about downloading music onto your phone and listening to your music through headphones. We used to listen to our music with headphones but it was for two reasons only. First, because the lyrics were borderline clean and we didn't want our parents to hear them and take away our record. Or, two, we were high and we wanted to get the back and forth from ear to ear on "Whole Lotta Love."
Almost daily mass shootings are a way of life today and something we just never experienced fifty years ago. If I hear the phrase, "our thoughts and prayers are with the families...", I know it is going to be another sad day. I can't imagine being a kid and having to go through safety drills for a gunman in the school, or even worse, being a parent and seeing your kids school on CNN for all the wrong reasons.
Metal woods in golf. There is something about the sound of a persimmon driver hitting a golf ball on a tree lined tee box that makes your heart sing. You just don't get the same feeling from hitting a metal wood with that coffee mug on jail cell bars clanging sound. Sure you hit it further, but now it is so deep in the woods you can't find the ball.
Raise your hand if your dad ever owned a station wagon. Yeah, mine too. The station wagon of today is the gas guzzling SUV. For all our talk about saving the earth we do love our SUV's. You can't be at a stop light with ten cars and not have seven of them be an SUV. It seems two faced to complain about high gas prices, and the earth being destroyed, while we rush out to buy the latest version of these cars.
Airport security. Gone are the days of killing a Saturday night by walking around the airport and people watching. Now, since 9/11, you can't even be wearing clothes to get past security. Who would have imagined that going on a trip, by plane, would start with you completely undressing to pass through TSA? Who would have imagined TSA for that matter? "Daddy? Why is that man carrying a turkey?" "That's not a turkey Betty, that's his stomach."
In order to do many of the things I've listed here so far you need one of these torture devices, a personal computer. I remember a class in high school where we had to write a computer program. It produced about 43,762 cards with hanging chads and all it did was display "Hello". Today you can buy a house without ever leaving your couch on one of these things. Of course if anything goes wrong you need to call your grandkid, or little Billy next door to come over and fix it for you. "Billy, 'sexy silvers' is just a way for us old people to see women naked, you don't have to tell your mom about this OK?"
When talking to someone in person is just too much trouble why not text them instead. Now you don't have to have any interpersonal interaction with another human but can still feel like you are part of earth one. "Dear fat ass. I told you I wanted a Lite, not a Bud Light."
Without a doubt the single biggest change in fifty years is shoving your mouth under the kitchen faucet to get a drink is no longer good enough. Now you need to have a fresh bottle of water that may or may not be dirtier than water coming out of the garden hose in your backyard. Why do we need this? Instead of actually drinking free water we are now perfectly happy to pay $2 for the same thing. This is close to being just as stupid as paying $12 for coffee when you can make it at home for free, or at the worst, go to Dunkin Donuts and get the best coffee you'll ever have for $2.
So there is my list of top things that have changed since graduation in 1972. I'll admit some of them are actually worthwhile but really most of them are ridiculous. This topic was going to be a candidate for book two but I didn't think I could make it in depth enough to turn it into a book.
I will not be attending the reunion for personal family reasons for those of you that care or are wondering. I hope everyone has a great time but please, don't show up in your SUV with a bottle of water.