Newspaper Article: What My Children Are Missing

This article is from August, 2009:

A few weeks ago I watched some comedian on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”. I can’t remember his name, but he was funny. And insightful.

This comedian was explaining that he thought that all of the best technology is being wasted on the most ungrateful generation–a generation that isn’t “awed” by technology anymore. One example he used was the cell phone. With more than a hint of sarcasm, he explained that we used to use rotary phones that were connected to the wall which means that we should be a little more thankful for the cell phones we use and a little more patient when the data we receive on our phones doesn’t come at light speed. The data goes to space and back, for crying out loud…

What is sad is that my children won’t ever know the technology I grew up with. I’m thirty seven. Born in 1972. I want my children to hear about a few of the luxuries we used to enjoy…

My children probably won’t use pay phones very often. When I was stuck at soccer practice and needed to call my parents for a ride home, I’d scrounge around in the parking lot of the local 7-11 until I found two dimes. Then I’d make the call. It was an adventure. I can’t recall the last time I used a pay phone.

Typewriters. Remember when you’d purposely hit two keys just to see if you could get two letters to stick together while they both tried to hit the paper at the same time? Awesome. Remember tearing the sheet of paper out in frustration when you made a mistake halfway through your term paper? Equally awesome…

I used to have to get up off of the couch and turn a knob to get to a different television station. One of my friends finally got a television with a “clicker” (remote control). It really clicked. Loudly. There were only buttons for ON/Off, volume, and channels. Oh, the luxury. My children wouldn’t know what to do with a TV with no remote.

I used to use encyclopedias, phones attached to walls, roller skates, and we used to take rolls of film into the store to get “developed”. Weird, I know. But the thing from my childhood that I think I wish my children could enjoy is the freedom to play outside and run around and not have worried parents. We used to “go play” as soon as breakfast was over and chores were done and we’d come home when we were hungry. No one worried or called or texted. My parents didn’t really know where I was, but there was nothing to worry about. Those, in my mind, were the “good ‘ole days”.

As much as I love technology (I’m typing this on my laptop, using “Google Docs” instead of a word processor), I feel a little melancholy that my children will never know the “technology” of 1972…


2 thoughts on “Newspaper Article: What My Children Are Missing

  1. jonballphoto

    Laughed out loud at the “scrounge around the parking lot looking for two dimes”. It’s crazy. I wrote about payphones today too. They smelled often though, payphones, that is. Keep up the great work.

    1. mickelsonbj Post author

      If I would have kept all of those dimes instead of making the calls, I would have a lot of dimes right now and could buy a satellite phone. All of my problems would be solved…


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