Times have changed, at least for those who are over the age of forty, born in the late ’70s. That’s when talk of the Internet began with terms like “Surfing the Net,” or “Computer Viruses.” I couldn’t help but envision myself standing on a surfboard while in front of a monitor, nor could I understand the concept of a machine’s having the flu.
As the ’80s rolled around, video games became the craze, something my son, a Millennial, once asked me about, “How did I spend my time as a kid without them?”
Well, we were outside mostly, riding our bikes, playing games like touch football, stickball in the street, or whiffle ball in backyards during spring through autumn. Kids cavorted out in the woods all year round, playing army, cowboys and Indians, ice-skating on frozen ponds and sledding down snow-covered hills in the winter time.
“Did you even have a TV?” he said. I had to chuckle about that one, explaining my spending quality time with his grandfather after supper, watching the Abbott and Costello Show, The Three Stooges with Officer Joe Bolton on Channel 11 from New York City, which also presented Laurel and Hardy shorts; and Looney Tunes on Channel 5’s Sandy Becker Show.
That was the only time I saw my dad belly-laugh, a joy to me whenever he did. He was a very serious person otherwise.
Then there were Saturday morning cartoons, eating our breakfast cereal in front of the TV set, the only time my mom would allow such a practice.
NYC television had just seven channels from which to choose, prior to the inception of UHF, way before cable. After I mentioned the broadcasts back then were in black-and-white, no color for the general public until the 1960s, my son shook his head and said, “Man, I couldn’t live like that.”
Cellular phones came into vogue around the mid-1980s, although they were analog. The ’90’s brought us digital cellular, the precursor to smartphones in the early-2000s, bringing us a lot closer to the present.
Phone booths are certainly a thing of the past. Even pay phones, which appeared nearly at every corner in a big city, are virtually nonexistent. Everyone now has a cell phone practically.
How about when law-enforcement agencies wanted to determine the phone number from where a criminal’s call was originating? The caller had to be kept on the line for several minutes while the phone company’s trace was made.
Today, caller-ID is standard with cellular service: no more prank calls to a neighbor, asking them if their refrigerator is running; and, if so, to tell them they better catch it before the fridge makes it out the door.
Then there was calling a tobacco store, inquiring if they had Prince Albert in a can. For a yes answer, the typical comeback was, “You better let him out before he suffocates.”
Ah, those were the days. That wraps up another weekly essay. Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, for your continued support.
By the way, my World Series prognostications were close, but no cigar, at least for predicting a rematch from last year’s Fall Classic. Houston outlasted everyone except for Boston in the American League Championship Series, the latter of which will be facing Los Angeles, who beat Milwaukee tonight in game 7 of the National League Championship Series by a score of 5 to 1.
Oh well, at least half of my prediction came true; but as I’ve always said, if you’re going to make a bet on something I making a bet about, always bet against me. I just wish I could bet against me.
Good luck on winning that $1.6 billion Mega Millions’ lottery prize. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t play. I’m going to buy a few tickets tomorrow.