John Larson

We’ve heard of senior moments and no doubt most of us have even claimed to have had a senior moment once or twice. But I’ve never in my born days heard anyone saying they were having a junior moment.

I’m starting to think I should have more junior moments, whatever that is.

I try to not harp on how far technology has advanced in a seemingly short period of time, and honestly, I don’t really think it’s because of the ‘good old days’ syndrome.

I mean, I’ve even heard older millennials make that ‘good old days’ observation. My kids, for instance.

My 39-year-old daughter was ruminating one time about how when she was little she only had cassette tapes, “and then compact discs, and then music files, and now you can just listen to music streaming on the internet. All you need is a little thing you can slip in your pocket.”

Hmm. It sounds like a transistor radio to my 1964 self.

My son, a bit older, remembers the stone age – well, maybe bronze age – of 45s and LPs. He also remembers a time when you saw a film in a movie theater, but if you wanted to watch it again later you had to wait around until it showed up on network TV. Now, making his living off the land as a farmer, I think he, as yet, deems not the internet as an integral part of his agronomic productivity.

To be sure, my own relationship with the Internet in our corner of New Mexico is rather dyslexic. If I may, it’s Timothy Leary’s 1966 hippie mantra “turn on, tune in, drop out,” all over again. I think my computer’s on LSD. I turn it on. I tune into the internet. The internet drops out.

But I digress.

I was thinking about these changing times when trying to decide what to get my grandchildren for Christmas but I wasn’t about to venture out on Black Friday and if I had I would’ve come back empty-handed, confused as to how to please a teenage boy and a 12 year-old girl of the 21st century.

It comes down to this, no matter how times change and tastes evolve, it appears girls still like dolls and boys still like trucks. My son and his wife paid careful attention in raising their kids, trying not to shape them to be conventional ‘blue means boy’ and ‘pink means girl’ young people. But what do you know, by the time they were three or four, my granddaughter started wanting pink and pretty things and playing house, and my grandson was heavily into toy trucks and cars and playing baseball.

Incidentally, I knew one TV-less couple in Magdalena who home-schooled their two boys for a couple of years, teaching them good moral lessons and nonviolence, and were taken aback to see them running around in the backyard using sticks for make-believe guns and spears.

These things must be hard-wired into our human DNA.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but when I was growing up us boys played with little plastic army men, made model airplanes, and shot each other in pretend gunfights with cap pistols. Girls, like my three sisters, played with dolls and had pretend tea parties with cupcakes made with Easy-Bake Ovens.

I’ll concede that gender-specific gifts are okay up to a point, but when I realized that my wife would rather she get a reciprocating saw than a diamond ring … well, I’m thinking, “now there’s a real woman.”

When I first learned how boy/girl things worked most women didn’t work. Most of the moms in my neighborhood were stay at home housewives. Of those that did work, they worked traditional female jobs such as secretaries, teachers, and nurses. Although my mother never learned to drive a car she still worked as a part-time LPN.

I don’t know where I’m going here with all of this, other than maybe looking at things that were, and things that are. We get all wistful about things that were – no matter how old or young we are – and I suppose that tendency will never change.

Thinking of the good old days as ‘better’ is something visceral in every one of us, I guess.

I’m not at all knocking our high tech gadgets and cars that talk to us, but I am hard-pressed to come up with a list of things that weren’t better for me in those good old days. The more I think about it, the more I rule things out. Except for one thing, but I’m not telling.

You’ve got to figure out that “one thing” for yourself.

In the meantime, I’m having a junior moment; a desire to play with army men and build model airplanes.

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