The other day while checking Facebook (you always have to check Facebook to see what your peeps are up to) I ran across a meme that said, “I’m so thankful I had a childhood before technology took over.”
Before I go any further I’m assuming you know what a meme is. And what peeps are.
Anyway, I figured the above meme was written by someone at least 40 years old who remembers growing up in a household without cell phones, FitBits, laptops or 500 channels on satellite TV. Back when diversions were for the most part – may I say – analog, like a telephone you dialed, a record you had to flip over, or a television you had to get off the couch and walk over to, to change the station.
Although that was the world some of us knew and in which we felt comfortable, I’m not sure if I want to return to those days, but if the power grid fails I hope I could adjust without too sharp of a learning curve. In other words, being paper-trained, I’m still hanging on to that 45-year-old Brother typewriter of mine. Re-inking the ribbon would be a hassle, though. Hmm … do they still sell bottles of ink?
Frankly, I’m not so sure that my memories of growing up haven’t been embellished here and there over the years to fit a more idealized picture of life without high-tech. Truth be told, if I was a kid today I would probably be one of those boys running around looking for Pokemon Go and bumping into things. I’d probably be saving up my allowance to buy iTunes cards instead of 45s. I’d also want the newest, most trendy cell phone instead of a transistor radio.
I could go on and on, but when you get down to it, each of us, no matter what generation, likes to think our childhood was better.
Except for my parents, who never let me forget about how tough things were before I was born.
Like school, for instance.
Digressing for a minute, when she was in her twenties my mother was a teacher in a two-room rural schoolhouse, back when “book larnin’” was not much more than the three R’s, but she would say with pride that every kid came out knowing how to read, write and add, divide and multiply (even if they had to repeat a grade).
Speaking of school, I was talking with a friend the other day about how much school has changed since the ’70s and 60s.
Take testing. The only tests other than for a particular class – insert pop quiz here – were the twice a year achievement tests – something you didn’t have to study for – and taking the ACT to get into college.
But on the other hand, there was paddling and detention and something unheard of nowadays – flunking out. Those were the sort of things that kids understood: physical pain and humiliation. Getting us ready for real life, I guess.
In any case, it’s a moot point because now corporal punishment is out and computers are in.
Computers and other electronic devices are all but standard in classrooms; a far cry from when we had to use a slide rule to figure out math problems and formulas. I bet you won’t find one single solitary slide rule in the back-to-school sales at Walmart, but you will find electronic products that run the gamut from Chromebooks to tablets to earbuds.
The back-to-school sales tax holiday is the first weekend in August, don’t forget.
As they are every year, the back-to-school sales begin the countdown to the end of summer vacation, which reminds me of another difference. This is hard to believe, but back in the Stone Age of my life, summer vacation lasted three entire months, from the first of June to the first of September, and one of the first assignments in school was to write a theme (which rhymes with meme) on what you did on your summer vacation.
There are pretty good schools in both Socorro and Magdalena and the kids, as a whole, come out decent people, regardless of whatever technology there is.
I’m not so sure that technology is actually taking over and that there’s a looming Skynet about to subjugate the human race like in The Terminator movies. However, e-things and i-things can be addictive, as well as the urge to check out my friends’ activities on social media.
If it weren’t for Facebook I would’ve missed another meme from the grammar police on the list of seven words to use instead of awesome: impressive, striking, wondrous, formidable, magnificent, brilliant, and splendid.
I guess supercalifragilisticexpialidocious wouldn’t fit in the meme.