What it was like in the ancient old days


On this, the occasion of my 10,000th birthday, I would like to say … oh, OK, I’m not really 10,000 years old.
I couldn’t be more than 1,500 or 1,501, tops. At the very least I’m in my 30s. Accordingly, I am a fossil.
Case in point:
(Out)dated. Just the other day I idly and without regard for my personal safety or humility, used the term “record store” to reference a source of musical purchases, i.e. “remember when all the record stores were in malls?”
My sensitive and supportive spouse, without regard for his personal safety, laughed so hard I thought he might have to pull over and get a grip on himself.
Or, better yet, let me get a grip on him.
Even worse, I still say “album.” As in, “that singer has a great album.”
I get laughed at as if I’ve just said, “Hey, that Pat Boone has a groovy new album out, let’s go down to the record store and get it for the sock hop!”
Even if I can wrap my lips around the term “CD” well enough to drop it into casual musical conversation, I dare say that will soon seem dated as well.
Do I call it a “download” now? Am I too old to speak in a language that routinely substitutes verbs for nouns? Sigh.
See what I mean? I need a guidebook, or perhaps a translator for these things.
One moment you’re a hip and happening young person, the next thing you know you are a barometer of just how “behind the times” a person can be and still be moving oxygen.
Dial. To whit: I remember rotary dial telephones. You not only let your fingers do the walking – your digits could go for a spin!
The pinnacle of rotary dial inconvenience was the “wall phone.”
Permanently mounted in one place, with a cord no less, you would usually find a stool or other rock-hard place located nearby to perch while talking on it.
In absence of a wall phone, you might have a desk phone.
This was slightly more portable except that the thing must’ve weighed 100 pounds. It could’ve been used as a weapon … if you could lift it.
My children were exposed to one of these at a garage sale once.
They were like perplexed space age scientists puzzling over some Paleozoic artifact. The kids kept trying to make it work by jabbing at the numbers printed inside the circles.
No remote?! I admitted to my 13-year-old niece that the TV in our house during my youth didn’t have a remote control.
She reacted as if I’d said I was raised by wolves without benefit of electricity or indoor plumbing.
On the heels of that “confession,” I have reminisced with friends over how our parents uniformly scolded us for flipping the channel changer too fast on the television. (This is when it was a circular knob that you actually had to grasp in one hand and turn to change the channel).
Hey, as far as couch potato workouts go, at least it was something.
I also remember adjusting the “rabbit ears” and, in a pinch, wrapping them in tin foil and/or substituting an unbent wire coat hanger to really pull in a good signal.
Remember stations “going off the air” at midnight by playing the national anthem?
Formatting, huh? Remember the “war” between VHS and Beta? Whatever the format, videos were progress.
A VCR was full on Jetsons as far as we were concerned.
Prior to that, in the dark days of the 1970s, if you wanted to see a movie, you saw it in a movie theater and then, that was it.
Too bad if you liked it a lot. Sorry for you if it was your favorite movie of all time. Your only hope was to wait a few years and pray that it played on some network’s weekend movie (all cut up with commercials for deodorant soaps and floor wax inserted in all the good parts, naturally).
Otherwise, you could just remember it fondly.
There was no watching Gone with the Wind or Dumb and Dumber over and over in the comfort of your own home whenever you wished.
Now, we can do just about anything imaginable in the comfort of our own homes.
We can call for free, cook in minutes, and watch whatever we want when we want it with the flick of a finger.
Yet somehow, I long for the “good old days” sometimes still.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt only feels 10,000 years old on days that end in “y.” She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.