Old soul

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Random, Reflection


I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic.  And I was looking for something that I can spark some comments on.  So what I want to hear is what things do you miss from your childhood or earlier in your life and why?  What will your kids never get to experience and why will their lives be emptier because of it?  Here’s my list.

Candy store – I’m not talking about the Jelly Belly store at the mall.  I mean the good old candy store like in the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory where you had to actually speak with the man behind the counter to get something.  And he could make recommendations to you to introduce you to a wonderful new treat you would have never heard of.  It’s like Amazon ratings of candy, but not from some impersonal not on a screen but from a real live human, who could emote and excite you into understanding what the new candy had to offer.  More important, as the store I used to visit with my grandfather every time we visited, the human would get to know your preferences without clicking Like buttons and running through an algorithm, so they could really recommend the right things.

Kids playing outside – Again, I’m not talking about walking in a group to the mall, or just your own kids going outside and playing for a few minutes.  I’m talking about the days of my youth when the entire neighborhood was outside for hours, together.  Where you had enough kids for a pickup baseball game, or a really cool game of Capture The Flag with two dozen kids on a side.  Our kids met the other kids in the neighborhood once and then they see each other on the bus, or waving at each other through the window of their cars as they get carted to another preplanned activity.  We also actually went to the park…. By ourselves….. when we were 7.  No idea if we just did not have creepy people in the same numbers as today, if the current ones are more bold, or we have all just scared ourselves into believing there is a menace out there that is not real, but I understand the inability to do that now.  I can still miss it though.

3 channels on TV and no VCR – Remember when things on TV were an event?  And EVERYONE you knew was in on it?  I remember when “V” was on TV and all my friends and I would gather every week and talk about the latest episode, or when the Olympics we on, especially with things like the Miracle on Ice or Nadia with her great gymnastics routines.  I remember my parents all nuts with anticipation about who shot JR.  Those of you old enough to understand those references can understand.  Now I could ask you what happened on Fringe last week and most people would be like, “What is that?” but back then many of these things were a national dialogue.  Listening to my favorite baseball team on the radio or watching the games on Sunday afternoons with my Dad until he fell asleep on the couch after the 2nd inning.  There was no ESPN to summarize the scores or website to see what happened.  If you missed the game you heard about it from your friends or looked up the box score in the paper.  I remember you had the Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island, or the A-Team, or Three’s Company or the Cosby Show.  The conversation on the playground or around the water cooler was about a shared experience because you had the networks or nothing.  The only Real Housewives I knew were my friend’s mom’s and the drama was pretty tame.  When cable came around it was all the rage, but then became the error of “100 channels and nothing on”.  It’s only gotten worse.  I still only watch maybe 7 channels.  Is that because I grew up with only 3?  Not sure.

There are a lot of other items, but those are the ones I really think about most often.  For me it comes down to the loss of community.  We are all a nation of home bodies now.  We interact with our screens instead of each other.  I find it strange that we used to read books about these faceless, unemotional, connectionless futures thinking they looked pretty scary, and sure enough we evolved right into that.  Dinner parties were a big thing with the neighbors when I was first married.  Now I suggest them to people and they look at me like I suggested they slaughter their first born child.  I can’t help but wonder what has been lost and what we will continue to lose in the future with these shifts.  I just interviewed a candidate for a job this week.  I could tell he was not comfortable around people.  I had to ask him if he felt he could interact with co-workers and get business requirements.  His response is that he could certainly talk with them on the phone.  I said, tongue-in-cheek, that he might even have to talk with them in person.  He stared blankly and had no response for me.   My HR manager and I just looked at each other and exchanged a glance.  He is not getting the job.

So let me hear what you have got to say.


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