Smile as you read that, and we are on the right track. If however you have no idea what the hell it means, or assume it is a crude piercing of a body part, pull your jeans up over your boxer shorts, adjust your belt and/or stick ear buds back in place and carry on – just as life is doing, at a pace you will never fully understand.
As kids, we made prank calls on black rotary dialed phones, with receivers which would now have forensic weapon star status on a CSI episode. Phrases such as: Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Let him out he can’t breath (it was tobacco by the way) and is your refrigerator running? Go catch it! Seem a world away now with texting, sexting and tweeting which go on 24/7, passing for entertainment and relationship, but never restraint! Trust me, when I went to a ball park it was to watch a player and maybe grab a coke and wiener during the game. Today I can see the player grab his wiener after some coke when he brings his game! Life has finally caught up and greased this geeky wheel – I have grown old.
When we baby boomers started to seed the garden path, we were like new appliances in a dream home. Long running, top of the line and filled with status and value. The old Frigidaire went to the garage to hold soda now and then, until coil and condenser coughed one last time. We were the next best thing to sliced bread, we didn’t trust anyone over 30 and we were gonna change the world! So what happened?
It happened, the world changed. For starters most new appliances had minimal warranty and lousy parts and the old Frigidaire is still working in the garage! That would be an awesome euphemism for our generation if it wasn’t so damn true. The generation, who gave us life, knew how to live, how to make things last and most of all how enjoy life the best they could, and while they did it they shared it with us. Just look at Betty White, we have elevated her next to Mother Teresa and why? Easy, because she is being who we never will be, and for what we miss so much, and it has nothing to do with being famous.
Things are “retro” and “vintage” now, but the memories they evoke are still fresh and remind us we are growing old too fast and when exactly did that happen? There is a marketing ploy that says it best, saying they will buy back outdated technology, if you bought your electronics from them originally – because it changes overnight. Well, I still have that rotary phone and I laugh, because during the last power outage, it was the only phone working in our house after cell phone and computer batteries had died. Is all this progress really success?
Playboy and National Geographic were more than magazines; they showed kids the world and “hinted” at “around the world” teasing innocence and knowledge. The internet now offers anything possible in any language with the touch of a button to anyone. Buy it, see it, steal it, show it, sell it, live it or die from it, OMG wouldn’t Jane Jetson and Buck Rogers be proud! We have taken the last of our generation, along with the two behind us on a fast forward journey that has no time or space and certainly no Ron Serling. We sell wrinkle cream, padded bikini tops and shape-up sneakers to 8 year old girls, boys father children or go to jail before knowing how to shave and each day becomes just another foot before the other, as we descend into deaths destiny. We have forgotten how to enjoy, enrich and entertain the inevitable, as our parents and grandparents did – like Betty White still does.
If HG Wells arrived into town today, there would not be Morlocks for him to fear, just his fellow man. 1984 passed without Big Brother taking us into a Vonnegut styled Montana and Bergeron universe, but is that really a good thing? There is no cohesion or consequence anymore in relationships, employment, politics or life. We have allowed life to live us, and we just go through the motions.
I wish my grandchildren could “know” the emotions of life as I did. Doorbells and telephone calls you heard on a quiet morning if the window was open or fireflies and frog songs at night. Movies in the gym after school, or a potluck dinner and delight, from a cheap plastic prize in a box of cereal, which seemed to last forever until you could retrieve it. Athletes who played the game for love or money not love of money and people you counted on and not just “liked” on a computer screen and televisions that brought the family members together in the evening, not in the car, pocket, smart phone or laptop.
My father would have said I sound like a broken record, but then again I would understand that. My kids would say it was a scratched CD or corrupt download on a Nano. Actually it is because I do understand all of that is why I miss life. My generation wasn’t stupid, yes we were dreamers, but we reached for the stars and made things happen and used our brains to do it. I guess being smart was something I took for granted, we went to school respected our teachers and learned things back then. Now that same technology we invented does everything for us, and for those in our footsteps.
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. may be in autopsy and not Los Angeles (shades of David McCalloum) where they say: “I piggybacked the upload with a Trojan and corrupted the streaming data packets by initiating stack buffer overflow.” And I know exactly what they are talking about and even how to do it, and didn’t need a condom joke either! Not bad for an over 50 grandma, that once had hot pants (the attire not the vernacular) and could sing a song about Barney with eyes that had nothing to do with a search engine (‘Google” it – seriously.)
Baby boomers aren’t just EBay searching a lost childhood; we are holding close and remembering a life that is fading away as fast as we age. Once we made life, we knew life, we lost life and we lived life. Maybe decisions we made weren’t always right, but we made them! We protested for them, we believed in them and we lived with them. Now everything is done for us, and can be changed by the click of a computer key, a cell phone, a youtube or tweet. Nothing is left to chance; we are so damn prepared we don’t even need the Boy Scouts anymore! But then again who really goes on outings anyway, unless a travel agent books you into a wifi five star resort with catering and activities waiting? What we thought we would want in the future, we dreamed as science fiction and delighted in the what if? Now we have it as a daily nightmare, with no consequence and it has become a shoulder shrugging why not?
So with sarcasm and defeat, I feel a need to go figure out how in the world the castaways packed all those costumes and props on Gilligan’s island, what a snipe hunt is and how Donna Reed never got dirty in the kitchen and I will do it for no other reason than I always knew it was impossible, but the improbable was hysterical and comfortable.