Things My Kids Will Never Know….
Do you how you know you’re getting old? You write an online blog that is highly successful amongst the key buying demographic for most American broadcasters (read as: people with the money and who actually spend it, i.e 40-60 year olds), largely because you generally come off as the angry curmudgeon standing out on the porch with your pants pulled up over your belly button, all while shaking your fist at all the young high school kids walking on your lawn. You complain about shit endlessly, harkening back to how things were better “back in your day”, and you have a host of equally old and angry followers who soak up your pointless rants. Well, buckle up folks, here comes another.
This one was spurred by my recent purchase of a turntable. In case, you haven’t heard, vinyl is back, baby, and you count me in for this cultural reminiscence. Moments after hooking it up with my kids looking on in dumbfounded bewilderment, I rushed down into the basement to retrieve my old record collection that may have included such gems as Asia, The J. Geils Band, Heart, and Men at Work (please don’t tell anyone about this). The kids and I listened to all of them, one after another, as I extolled the virtues of feeling music in your hands, the weight of the the hard plastic firmly in your grasp. They seemed confused by why one would have to flip the music over every 20 minutes or so, but they dug it, my 6-year old daughter in particular coming to enjoy picking out new records and putting them on. Later, we would take a trip to the record store (yes, that picture above is my daughter thumbing between Leonard Cohen and Iron Maiden- God, I love her!), a trip that would assure me I had thus far done a wonderful job raising these kids as my 9-year old picked out The Who’s My Generation for his album to take home.
That prideful joy, however, soon turned to wistful nostalgia as on the ride home I began to contemplate the marvelous things that would not make a comeback like vinyl, the things my kids would never know. Sure, they’ll have the internet, greater cultural tolerance, and legal weed, but what will they never have the privilege of having experienced?
The first thing that came to mind was the rotary phone. My kids will never have to stick their finger in a hole ten times and spin it around like some kind of mute Spin and Speak (which they also won’t know). Likewise, my kids would have no idea what a pay phone was if they ever did happen to come across one. They would probably think it was a photo booth for personal selfies.
My kids will never play the original Atari Space Invaders…unless they go digging in Uncle Roddy’s basement. I have a feeling he might still have an original console down there somewhere.
My kids will never do research for a school assignment by pouring through the encyclopedias and other lifeless reference materials in the town library. Sitting in the comfort of your own kitchen, listening to tunes, and drinking a Vitamin Water while you do your homework does have its disadvantages though too. It was at the library that I had many of my best high school make out experiences, hanging out with my girlfriend of the time while telling my parents I was “studying with a friend”.
My kids will only know Eddie Murphy as the voice of Donkey from Shrek and not recognize his brilliance as a stand-up comedian or sketch actor from SNL. Delirious might be the funniest live comedy movie ever filmed, and I can still hear Murphy doing the voice of Mr. T as a gay man or the kid in his neighborhood taunting others with the cry of “You aint got no ice cream….”
My kids will never know a world free from Jar Jar Binks. There is no erasing him from existence.
My kids have always had a dishwasher, and given Daddy’s utter distaste for washing dishes by hand, they probably always will. This distaste came from years of doing dishes as a youth. My mom used to joke that she had a dishwasher: me. Like many kids of the 70’s, I was her television remote as well.
My kids will never know a world dominated by homophobia. Ah the joys of homophobia!
Barring a highly improbable resurgence in hippy jewelry, my kids will never know mood rings. Instead, they will have to visit therapists and online advice sites to tell them what their mood is. Both of them, however, seem perfectly capable of expressing it to others, loud and clear.
My kids will never be taught “the old Math”. To be honest, I’m not really sure what this “new Math” really means and why the hell we needed to update something objective like Math in the first place, but hey, I’m an english teacher, so what the heck do I know?
And lastly, my kids will never hang out in the mall, or at least if they do, you know there wont be a Bennetton….
What am I missing folks? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the things you will be bummed your kids will never experience, so take a moment and leave a reply….
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 Words or Less every TUESDAY and FRIDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com