Those of us who grew up back when Dinah Shore was a celebrity may feel like we’re out of our element. I do. Sometimes I feel like, snore, a dinosaur from the Age of Dinah Shore. Why? Nowadays it’s not so much “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet,” as it’s “See the Zeiderzee in your S.U.V.” Our choices have expanded. As a young fellow said the other day, “The world is your osterizer!”
(I may be over the hill, but I still know the difference between an oyster and a blender.)
Speaking of celebrities, I really don’t know that many anymore. It’s hard to keep up. People will say things like, “What’s Her Face (which could actually be her name in this new world) is a great actress”, and I will have no idea who she is. But I’m not entirely celibr-illiterate. The other day I noticed that a new Western had hit the theaters starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Candice Bergen, and Meryl Streep. The movie was originally going to be called, “The Magnificent Seven Minus Three,” but it was changed at the last minute to, “The Facelift Gang Sags Again!” Whatever, I was proud of myself for being able to link names to faces.
Things have changed so much over the years. When I went to public school, school started the day after Labor Day. Here in Albuquerque, the first day of public school this year was August 10. Every year it creeps a bit closer to July 4. I think parents are weary of supervising their kids during the summer. They are lobbying for a shorter summer. July 4 is, in their opinion, a great day for beginning the new school year. “The First Day of School! Free at last! Independence Day! Yea!”
When I went to elementary school, we didn’t have backpacks. They weren’t invented yet. You could have a rucksack if you joined the army, but not for attending school. Cigar boxes were perfectly adequate for holding our stuff. I think the decline in cigar box usage was related to the decline in the number of cigar smokers. After the Great Cigar Box Shortage of the late 1950s, backpacks were invented.
We also had Big Chief Tablets in elementary school, not android tablets. And penmanship, although you couldn’t prove it by my handwriting today. If there is anything I hate, it’s leaving myself a post-it note that I can’t read.
I’m also finding it hard to adapt to the pace of life nowadays. At the gym, for example, young people exercise a minute and then stare at their phones for five minutes. Exercise another minute, and then stare at their phones another five. It takes them six times as long to go to the gym as it does an old dinosaur like me. I don’t have that much time even in retirement. If I spent that much time at the gym, I wouldn’t have any time left to take a nap.
Today’s attention span is also bothersome. Everywhere, not just at the gym, I see young people constantly checking their devices. They check this, they look at that, they check this, they look at that. I’m not that quick. It takes me so long to have a complete thought, I would never have one if I kept checking this and looking at that. And two half-baked thoughts a whole thought do not make.