Young whipper-snappers!

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.

– Greg

Windows Live Tags: History, Pop Culture, 80’s, Old Fart, Humor
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36 thoughts on “Young whipper-snappers!

  1. Hey, you young whippersnapper, you would never have survived the early 1970s. I had to write my own code in fortran and cobal and type them up on keypunch cards. There was one computer in town and the university, city college, police dept, and other agencies all shared time on it. I used a reader and a printer and they took up all the whole room. Sadly, everything that I learned in the 1970s can now be accomplished with using a simple spreadsheet.

  2. Here’s a picture of a keypunch card for you and other whippersnappers who have never seen one.http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/029-card.jpg

  3. Wonder how that guy who works for MSN got on with his "going back to the 70’s" project they put him on? I never found out the outcome. Whatever was his name? Poor fellah was getting a bit fed up with it towards the end! Yet, lots of us have lived through both sides of the coin, so to speak. Life without computers, even for me now, would be a nightmare! And I’m much older that you;)

  4. 30?????? OMG your still a child and wet behind the ears for goodness sake. Your still the title of your own blog? way to young to post a blog and say "Why, when I was a Kid"? You still are!!!! I have shoes older then you. I did not become an adult until my mid thirties, and that was a long, long time ago. Heck I have five kids two of which are older then you. OK Greg, maybe no one else has read this post yet, you should just delete it. LOL(and I thought I was bratty yesterday? Today! so much bigger)

  5. LOL Bob he so is!! Greg you have a bunch of (nearly)oldies that once walked 25 miles to school now commenting on you blog about how good today’s kids have it today!I remember when all I wanted for Christmas was a Scalectrix and it was just one that went round in circles!!

  6. Your facts are shady as well. You say "We couldn’t’t buy individual songs. Music was sold in “albums," untrue! their were 45rpm singles with and "A" side and a "B" side, bought them all the time. At least you had Atari. My parents 1st new TV was a nine inch screen in a 4ft high cabinet.You have always had buttons on a phone, we had to dial a rotor, the phone numbers contained letters and numbers and some of us had to crank the phone and had party lines where 3 or 4 houses used the same line.CPS encouraged it…..WE HAD NO CPS.Okay I am calming down now…………..well you know one great and wonderful thing that my generation and those before me had that no longer exists is Respect. Now that is sad.

  7. Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch – which has nothing to do with the topic!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

  8. Boy I can just see Greg sitting at his desk, shaking his head thinking, "What did I do, I just wrote a nice little funny post, and now their replying about some ole British comic entourage. Too funny

  9. @X: Just had a look at that card. To think I used to be able to read one of those. Wow. We studied and used them at school, learning computer language!

  10. I dunno leave you lot alone for an hour while, Abbey left ER (sniff) and what do I find??? And I have to chuckle …… Americans talking about Monty Python!!!

  11. I have a boxed set of Monty Python DVD’s at home. Love them then love em still.Here is one for you Mandy…….One of my favorite British comedies was one called "No Honestly" going way way back, Fantastic, wish it was still on. you remember that one. Of course now with cable I have the BBC channel 24/7, watch Cash in the attic every Saturday morning for a few

  12. I remembered the tune too it straight away but had to google it to remind myself what it was about and yes I do remember it now! Funny! British humour at it’s best at least for the times!One of the worst things about being on GMT, is that I’m ready for bed, when you guys are just getting home from work! So enjoy your evenings! and Nite

  13. @Bob: I remember the song. Wasn’t it Lyndsey DePaul who sang it? I do remember the programme, hazily but can’t tell you what it ws about, now. I was only a kid myself then.

  14. Yes it was……. A real life couple John Alderton and Pauline Collins played a Married couple’s life. it was a comedy that only had about a dozen shows. Funny stuff.

  15. Thank-you for such an historical recap. I still have a TV with an antenna. Not convinced yet there’s much on cable that my 6 stations don’t catch. Hilarious entry. Thanks for evening chuckle.

  16. We have Sky TV here satellite, 900 channels, I watch about 3 or 4 regularly, the movie channels, once a month or so, and probably another couple like the discovery channels when it’s not a repeat on!So Happy you’re probably right!

  17. @ Mandxx should’ve stuck with the old freeview if you only watch 3 or 4 channels! theres like what, 90 on freeview. Dave is probably the best channel on there l0l

  18. The house I’m staying in at the moment has a fridge magnet that says ‘When we were young, we had to walk 20 miles for sex and drugs’

  19. @Ed It started out getting the sport channel for one of my kids which he paid for, he’s now left home, so I switched to movies, then my daughter came home for a couple of months….. and stayed 18, so I got multiroom, them HD got real cheap, so I got that too!! It’s sort of snowballed!!Trouble is the channels I do watch the most aren’t on freeview (or at least they weren’t!)

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