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Fetch my teeth, I feel a good swear coming

Perhaps I would be better off waiting for my twilight years to start maligning the younger generations, but kids these days have it too easy. Consider the following examples:

  • Video game consoles. I grew up on the Atari 2600, where a game with three whole sprites for the main character was nothing short of revolutionary. We only had one button on our joystick, but we were damn happy with it. The mere mention of Pitfall, Qbert, Breakout, or SeaQuest brings a wistful tear to my eye, but will never evoke the tiniest shred of emotion in today’s average eight year old. When the NES came along in the middle of elementary school, it exceeded our wildest expectations, but the modern crop of vegetates turn their nose at such “outdated” graphics and a controller that is actually oblong. My heart aches to think that my grandchildren will likely never experience the sublime joy of the original Legend of Zelda, casting it aside for Final Fantasy XXXIV for the Playstation 6.
  • Porn. When I was growing up, we fought for our porn tooth and nail. On lazy school day afternoons, we would post lookouts at the front door and the top of the stairs as we rummaged frantically through our fathers’ dresser drawers, searching for a Playboy or – the holy grail of porn hunting – a Penthouse. After our searches, we’d return everything to its original condition down to the smallest detail and sneak back into the kitchen for juice, terribly confused but inexplicably happy. Today, the most innocent search on google yields better results than peering under a thousand mattresses, and a hotmail account is like some sort of free, crazy porn delivery service, serving up piles of steaming smut whether you want it or not. The extreme caution we used when hiding our shameful secrets seems silly in retrospect, but it was no game at the time. We would periodically have meetings to discuss the best hiding places: crammed into a hollowed-out teddy bear; slipped into a Ziploc bag inside the toilet tank; taped to the underside of bureau drawers. Given that today most ten year olds are more computer savvy than both their parents combined, a few clicks of the mouse will hide their tracks better than we ever dreamed we’d be able, and of course an innocently unlabeled CD would have been worth its weight in gold to our greedy little hands.
  • Microwavable snack food. The microwave was a crazy, space-age device for many of my formative years, and ours was a hulking beast the size of a Buick known for mutating small mammals that wandered by (they told us the rats had escaped, but we knew the truth). No one had a microwave, so there wasn’t much point in mass-producing microwave snacks, and we went without. The child obesity rate in this country testifies to the sheer ubiquity and deliciousness of today’s nuke-able snacks. Little butterballs have all the luck.
  • Of course, for all our technological gains since the 80’s, we’ve lost some valuables. Cartoons, for one, suck now. My brother and his wife have been making VHS copies of old episodes of GI Joe, Transformers and the like, having decided some time ago that their child won’t watch the drivel that passes for animation on Nick. I’m with them. I think I’ll try to secure a working NES and copies of the classics for my first-born. Even if he or she has to play them on our 56″ plasma screen, it will be better than Halo VI: The Sucking.

    Posted in Musings.


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