Mid-life Crisis Devices: I thought I was cool

Hey Generation X! And even Millennials! Do you want to feel old? I’ll just leave this here:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/19/do-you-wind-it-up-teens-tackle-old-tech-rotary-phones

Go ahead, read it and come back. I’ll wait. Now I’ll explain why this article makes me upset. I’m middle-aged. I’ve lived over four decades. I used all of the items in this article in real life and now these kids treat them like they just discovered an archeological dig. I don’t know why this article affected me. Maybe it’s the wine.

If someone handed me these items today, here’s how I’d respond.

Home phone, with a rotary dial

In the 80s, My mom thought it was fun to have a “retro candlestick phone.” This particular phone was shiny black plastic. You had to hold the earpiece to your ear and then speak into the mouthpiece akin to the Panasonic dog. The rotary dial would pinch your finger if you weren’t careful. We didn’t need a rotary phone in the 80s, this was a phone extension that lived in my parents’ bedroom, but I think my mom felt it was classy.

Get up… using a wind-up alarm clock

The only thing worse than the sound of a classic alarm clock is the sound of the Charlie Chaplin alarm clock I owned. Again, I blame my mom because she gave this to me as a gift. I love Charlie Chaplin, but this clock was straight-up evil. First, the damn thing ticked so loudly that it continually woke me up in the middle of the night. Second, there is nothing worse to a teenager hating wakeup time than the alarm that came out of this thing. My mom thought it was hilarious. She is evil.

Tune in… to the wireless

I was lucky and had my own bathroom growing up, decorated with pink flamingos, á la Miami Vice. My pink boombox was tuned to KISN 97 (a Salt Lake radio station where I, ironically, ended up as a traffic reporter in the early ’00s.) I often played the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack (on tape) while improvising roller skating performances in the carport with this boombox. I see nothing wrong with this.

Look it up… in an encyclopedia

Kids today can’t even spell encyclopedia off the tops of their heads. I always wanted my own set of encyclopedias so I didn’t have to go to the library to photocopy stuff. I was never the same the day I got my Macintosh Performa that included Collier’s Encyclopedia on CD-Rom. It was like porn for dorks.

Play Time… with an old school Game Boy

The screen was a sweet precursor to the Nokia phone. Super Mario got me through multiple road trips. Animaniacs was pretty much the greatest game known to man. Punch anyone who says that today’s phone games are better.

Sony Walkman, Disc Camera, and stuff

I can’t type anymore about this. I’m crying again and because I’m middle-aged, it’s almost my bedtime. I need more wine.

This article challenged me because the things these kids made fun of were beyond amazing back in the day. Surround me with a charm necklace, squirt me with some Electric Youth eau de cologne and call it a day. Let’s all embrace the awesomeness of our times and not create content that disparages memories.

Now get off my lawn.

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