When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things when they were growing up. How they had to walk 25 miles to school every morning, uphill, barefoot, both ways. Yada, yada, yada. I remember promising myself that when I grew up, I wouldn’t lay a bunch of guilt on my kids about how hard I had it then, and how easy they’ve got it now.
But, now that I’m over the ripe old age of 30, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today. Compared to my childhood days, today’s kids live in Utopia. I hate to say it, but you kids just don’t know how good you’ve got it!
Why, when I was a kid:
- We didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we went to the library and looked it up ourselves in something called a “card catalog.” It was a lot like the Internet, but without Google, any of the speed, or the porn.
- There was no e-mail. We had to actually write a paper “letter” using a stylus-like device called a “pen,” walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and then wait about a week for it to be delivered. Stamps were 10¢ (which was a lot of money in those days), so you better be sure you were saying something important.
- Child Protective Services didn’t care if our parents beat us. They encouraged it. As a matter of fact, our friends’ parents also had permission to kick our butts. Nowhere was safe.
- There were no MP3s and no Napster. If we wanted to steal music, we had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it ourselves. Otherwise, we had to wait around all day to “tape it” from a wireless music service called the “radio,” and the DJ would inevitably talk over the beginning of the song and screw it all up.
- We didn’t have iPods or even CD players. We had portable radios the size of a small car, which included a tape deck. If we were really lucky, it might be a Walkman with headphones. We’d play our favorite tapes and manually flip them over halfway through to hear the other side.
- We couldn’t buy individual songs. Music was sold in “albums,” which were collections of 1 or 2 decent songs amidst a bunch of crappy ones. But we couldn’t tell where the good songs were located on the tape, so we’d have to press fast-forward or rewind buttons to jump around in a vain attempt to find the beginning of a song. Invariably, we’d just end up listening to the whole crappy album.
- There was a family phone, and it didn’t have fancy features like call waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal. Period. And we didn’t have caller ID, either. When the phone rang, we had no idea who was going to be on the other end of the line. It could be the school, mom, a boss, a bookie, a drug dealer, a collections agent, we just didn’t know. We had to pick it up and take our chances, mister.
- We didn’t have any fancy Sony PlayStation video games with high-resolution, 3D graphics. We had the Atari 2600, with games like “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids.” The guy was just a little square, so we actually had to use our imaginations. 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.
- We didn’t have digital program guides. To find out what was on TV, which typically consisted of about 3 channels we could pick up with an antenna, we used a little book called a “TV Guide.” There was no channel surfing, unless you call getting off your butt and walking over to the TV to change the channel “surfing.”
- There was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little brats! The rest of the week there was just news, soap operas, and game shows. Reality TV hadn’t been discovered yet.
- And we didn’t have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, then we had to use the stove. Imagine that, children using hot stoves. It’s a wonder we didn’t all end up with 3rd-degree burns.
You kids today have got it too easy. You wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1980.